Ann Marie Rogers tried, but family did not heed warnings
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Michigan––Ben and probably Wren, two family Rottweilers, on September 2, 2021 fatally mauled Sally Fredrica Rogers, 91, on her daughter Susan Rogers’ back deck in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, an outlying Detroit suburb.
Standing just 4’11”, suffering from memory impairment and other conditions of age, Sally Fredrica Rogers never stood a chance after even one of the Rottweilers detonated, let alone if both did.
“It was a horrific attack with gruesome injuries,” Sally Fredrica Rogers’ other daughter Ann Marie Rogers told ANIMALS 24-7, after doing the necessary post-mauling clean-up at her sister’s house. The victim, like many victims of pit bull and Rottweiler attacks, was essentially dismembered alive.
Pit bull-savvy, but trusted Rottweilers
Ironically, no one has done more in Michigan over the past 35 years, as shelter worker, humane educator, rescuer, and victim advocate, to prevent dog attacks than Ann Marie Rogers.
Ann Marie Rogers had foreseen and tried to prevent the Rottweiler attack that killed her mother, too, but her efforts were to no avail.
Susan Rogers was aware of the elevated risk associated with pit bulls, and was even a donor to Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education & Awareness, founded in memory of 2013 pit bull victim Daxton Borchardt.
Victim did not want to move
But Susan Rogers was enamored of a succession of Rottweilers, even after another Rottweiler, now deceased, almost bit off one of Sally Fredrica Rogers’ fingers.
Despite that, Sally Fredrica Rogers did not want to live anywhere else.
Ben, “the 1.5 year old neutered male, was the one who killed her I am sure,” Ann Marie Rogers assessed.
Susan Rogers, who may now face possible charges including second degree homicide, and/or manslaughter, elder neglect, and interfering with a crime scene, “was picking up her friend from the hospital down the road. She was gone an hour,” Ann Marie Rogers explained.
During that time Sally Fredrica Rogers and the two Rottweilers were left without supervision.
Hid the Rottweilers
Susan Rogers returned to discover her mother dying on the deck. She promptly called emergency services, Ann Marie Rogers said––and hid the Rottweilers in a bedroom, initially telling police that a friend had taken them.
Sally Fredrica Rogers, already “seriously injured and unresponsive by the time the police arrived, was taken to the St. Joseph-Mercy Hospital,” in Pontiac, “where she then succumbed to her injuries,” reported Emma Stein for the Detroit Free Press.
Ben and Wren, male and female Rottweiler litter mates, were impounded by the Bloomfield Hills Animal Shelter. Wren was purchased first, Ann Marie Rogers told ANIMALS 24-7. Ben was acquired later, after he was returned to the breeder by a family who, the breeder told the Rogers family, wanted a fiercer dog.
Ann Marie Rogers was always skeptical of that story.
“Had some wonderful Rottweilers,” but “had to euthanize 90% for aggression”
“I used to do Rottie rescue,” Ann Marie Rogers reminded ANIMALS 24-7. “I had to euthanize 90% for aggression issues,” she said, but mentioned that she also “had some wonderful Rottweilers,” in particular one named Wyatt.
Of Ben, Ann Marie Rogers said, “I wanted my sister to put him to sleep. He started showing signs of aggression,” including an unprovoked snap at Ann Marie Rogers herself during a training exercise, “but she did not heed his warnings or mine,” a familiar situation to ANIMALS 24-7.
ANIMALS 24-7 logs fatal and disfiguring dog attacks practically every day. In at least half or more of the fatality cases, and many of the disfigurements, someone within the family, close to the family, or otherwise in the neighborhood had tried to warn the dog owner––and often also tried to warn animal control and/or police––that the dog had demonstrated dangerous behavior, such as biting, snapping, or killing other animals.
“Couldn’t save my own mother”
“We do victim advocacy work to educate and raise awareness in an effort to save lives,” Ann Marie Rogers said, “but I couldn’t save my own mother. I am devastated.
“The breeder I want to go after. She sells $2,000 killers,” Ann Marie Rogers continued.
Recalled Ann Marie Rogers in December 2020, “As I have always had a passion for animals, particularly dogs, I volunteered at a local humane society as a teenager and later worked at the Michigan Humane Society in various capacities –– adoption counselor, wildlife specialist, animal behaviorist, evaluator and veterinary technician –– while attending the University of Michigan. I continued there after graduation.
“I loved the experience and education I received at the Michigan Humane Society,” Ann Marie Rogers wrote. “Part of good adoption counseling was to list the correct breed/mix and discuss breed traits to ensure a good match for the dog and the family who may take the dog home.
“As a shelter evaluator,” Ann Marie Rogers explained, “it was my job to temperament-test the dogs and determine if they were suitable to be adopted into a new home. If a dog passed a temperament test, that was not a guarantee that it would never bite, but it gave us a pretty good indication. If a dog failed a temperament test by displaying aggression to people or other animals, the dog was humanely euthanized. I did that too. It was my job to decide which animals went up for adoption and which did not, and to humanely euthanize those that did not.
Ann Marie Rogers founded her own dog rescue organization, No Place Like Home Rescue of Michigan, in 1995. She also served for years as animal control officer for the city of Sterling Heights.
Eventually Ann Marie Rogers formed a second organization, Responsible Citizens for Public Safety, to campaign on behalf of both human and animal victims of dog attacks.
“582 dead Americans gave me great concern”
Responsible Citizens for Public Safety in 2019 honored musician Oneil Colley on the steps of the Michigan state capitol for his actions in saving a mail carrier from a pit bull attack.
Stated Ann Marie Rogers on that occasion, to Nina DeSarro of WZZM, “Five hundred eighty-two dead Americans because of someone else’s pet choice gave me great concern. Pit bulls are simply too dangerous to make safe pets,” Ann Marie Rogers continued, calling for laws mandating that pit bulls and other closely related ‘bully breeds,’ Rottweilers included, be sterilized.
Ben, however, was sterilized, as was Wren. Sterilization may prevent dangerous genetic traits from being passed along, but unfortunately does not make a dog who is already high-risk any safer to be around.
Both Rotts & pits are 11 times more dangerous than the average dog
A widespread perception persists that because Rottweiler-inflicted fatalities and disfigurements are less often reported than fatalities and disfigurements inflicted by pit bulls, Rottweilers are somehow safer dogs.
In truth, as ANIMALS 24-7 has established through 40 years of logging fatal and disfiguring dog attacks in the U.S., Canada, and several other nations, both pit bulls and Rottweilers are approximately 11 times more likely to kill or disfigure a person than the average dog.
That makes both pit bulls and Rottweilers about three times more dangerous than German shepherds, bull mastiffs, Dobermans, and most other breed types commonly recognized as high-risk.
Thus far in 2021, 33 fatalities in the U.S. resulting directly from dog behavior include 23 fatal pit bull attacks, four by Rottweilers, one by a pit/Rott mix, and two by Cane Corsos.
The remainder were unwitnessed pack attacks.
Ryan Francis Foster
The most recent Rottweiler fatality before Sally Fredrica Rogers was 19-month-old Ryan Francis Foster.
Ryan Foster was left in a Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York apartment with brothers Talé and Jayden, ages 9 and 11, and the Rottweiler, named Buster, while father Vernon Foster, 30, went to work at a nearby Home Depot.
The Rottweiler had a history of violence, police told media the following day. So did Vernon Foster, who according to the New York Daily News was charged in February 2021 with slamming the boys’ mother, Susan Hyre, into a wall hard enough to leave a hole in the wall.
Arrested on August 11, 2021, Vernon Foster was charged this time with criminally negligent homicide, manslaughter, and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
“Guard dog, not meant to be around children”
Hyre, divorced from Vernon Foster and living separately, had custody of the boys, but they were allowed to be with Foster for weekend visits.
Hyre told New York Mail reporter Dan Whigham, he wrote, that “she thought Foster had the kids at his Bedford-Stuyvesant home. But instead, the boys and the dog were left at the Flatbush home of Foster’s parents, who were out of the country.
“This dog is a vicious dog. It’s very, very vicious, very much so,” Hyre said. “He [Vernon Foster] just left the children and went to work and I’m really confused by this. He went to work like it was nothing. I don’t understand why he didn’t call anybody or go late to work.”
The Rottweiler, Hyre explained, is “a guard dog, not a dog meant to be around children.”
The fatal attack occurred, according to Hyre, when “The dog just lunged at [Ryan]. He grabbed [Ryan] by his collar and shirt.”
Talé and Jayden tried to pull the Rottweiler away, Hyre said, but “As they were fighting the dog — that’s when the dog bit [Ryan] in the neck.”
Rotts have killed four toddlers so far this year
Running outside to seek help, Talé and Jayden alerted a neighbor, who drove Buster back with a shovel.
Wrote Whigham, “The two children managed to lock the deranged dog in a bathroom, sources said. When first responders arrived, the fatally wounded baby was in the lobby of the building with his two brothers, sources said.
ANIMALS 24-7 on May 27, 2021 detailed the comparable deaths of ten-month-old Malia Scott Winberry, killed by two family Rottweilers at her rural home near Angier, North Carolina, and of four-year-old Elliott Jeffrey Sherwin, fatally mauled by two Rottweilers at his grandparents’ home west of Whitehall, Montana, on Mother’s Day, May 9, 2021.