Dog attack death toll fell just short of a new record
CHICAGO, Illinois––Ten days after the December 28, 2021 death of the apparent last fatal dog attack victim of the year, ANIMALS 24-7 still has not found the identity of the 34-year-old male victim, despite many hours of searching death records, social media postings, and other sources that usually furnish clues.
But there is no mystery about the dogs who killed him: three pit bulls, one of them the supersized variant of the J.D. Johnson fighting dog line now commonly called an “American bully.”
The three pit bulls were impounded, the Chicago Tribune reported, after “Police were called to a residence in the 300 block of West 108th Place in the Roseland neighborhood about 11:30 pm. and found the still-unidentified man in a living room, with ‘visible dog bites’ about the body.
“Multiple injuries from a dog mauling”
“An autopsy,” the Chicago Tribune specified, “determined the man died of multiple injuries from a dog mauling, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. His death was ruled an accident.”
The 300 block of West 108th Place in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago––a superficially quiet residential black of century-plus-old single-family dwellings with yards and mature tree canopy–– is well-known to police.
Drive-by shootings on the block killed DeAndre Darling, 18, on May 15, 2020 and Tonya Gist, 41, on April 8, 2012, 21 years after a random shot killed her 15-month-old son Denzel Gist, passing through his body to wound her in the abdomen.
That 1991 shooting occurred elsewhere. But surviving shootings on the 300 block of West 108th Place in the Roseland neighborhood since 2012 were a 16-year-old boy, a 17-year-old boy, a 20-year-old woman, a 36-year-old man, and a 45-year-old man.
Whoever acquired the three pit bulls who killed the December 28, 2021 victim probably imagined that they would furnish protection on the abnormally dangerous block.
How many 2021 victims?
More than 100 dogs, all but one of them of known high risk breeds, participated in killing at least 56 Americans and one Canadian in 2021––or 57 Americans, if one counts Atlanta barmaid Katie Janness as a probable dog attack victim, rather than as a stabbing victim, as her family and police believe she was.
Either way, the 2021 dog attack death toll, both in the U.S. and in the U.S. plus Canada, fell barely short of the record 57 dog attack fatalities logged in 2017, and broke the 2017 record of 40 pit bull fatalities by at least two.
Among the more than 100 killer dogs in 2021 are known to have been 65 pit bulls, eight Cane Corsos, and five Rottweilers.
Dangerous dogs are NOT “protection”
At least 44 of the pit bulls, and all of the Cane Corsos and Rottweilers, appear to have been kept at least in part for “protection.”
But at least 47 pit bulls, three huskies, three boxers, two Rottweilers, two mutts, a Saint Bernard, and a dubiously identified “Sheltie/corgi mix” killed members of their own households.
Only one dog attack fatality, pit bull victim Alex Binyam Abraha, 21, was an actual intruder into a dog-“protected” home.
Nineteen pit bulls and at least eight other dogs were running at large when they killed people who were doing nothing more menacing than simply minding their own business.
Far more information is available about most dog attack fatalities than about most disfigurements, many of which are not reported to news media. ANIMALS 24-7 has nonetheless tracked disfigurements as well as fatal attacks from what information is available since 1982.
The Ian Dunbar scale for evaluating dog attack severity did not yet exist until decades after the ANIMALS 24-7 data log originated, but all attacks logged as disfigurements [also identified as maimings] would rate a high 4 or a 5 on the Dunbar scale; a fatality is a 6.
Of the 371 dogs inflicting disfigurements in 2021, 279 (75%) were pit bulls, consistent with the overall record.
COVID-19 leads to under-reporting
For the second year in a row, coinciding with restrictions on social behavior resulting from the now two-year-old global COVID-19 pandemic, dog attack fatalities were up in 2021, but reported disfiguring dog attacks––though more frequent than in 2020––were much less frequent than in the seven-year time frame including 2013 through 2019, when pit bulls alone figured in an average of 491 disfiguring attacks per year.
Pit bull attack fatalities rose to the second highest total in a year on record in 2020, and rose again in 2021, yet disfiguring pit bull attacks dropped by 62% in 2020 and were 57% of the 2013-2019 average in 2021.
How could this be, in view that fatalities are a subset of disfiguring attacks?
Those paradoxes appear to be artifacts of under-reporting of nonfatal dog attacks and especially nonfatal pit bull attacks occurring within homes and families.
Fewer people out in public, spending less time in public places, means fewer dogs are among fewer humans too, translating into fewer strangers bitten and mauled.
Fewer collateral deaths
Fewer people suffered heart attacks or other severe injuries trying to escape from aggressive dogs, as well.
No human––on record, anyhow––died in 2020 in either the U.S. or Canada, from a heart attack triggered by a dog attack, or from being hit by a car while dodging a dog.
Neither did anyone in either the U.S. or Canada die from an antibiotic-resistant infection or rabies contracted from a dog within North America.
That made 2020 the only year since 2009 in which there were no human deaths reported from collateral causes associated with dog attacks.
The only 2021 human deaths from collateral causes resulting from dog behavior appear to have been Rhonda Lobuono, 58, of Cranston, Rhode Island, whose own pit bull on March 25, 2021 reportedly pulled her in front of a pickup truck, and Eric Daniel Grimm, 48, of Lebanon, Oregon, who died of an apparent heart attack suffered immediately after breaking up a household dog attack.
All the victims
The complete 2021 dog-inflicted death log is below.
To see the complete 1982-2021 log summaries, please click here: 2021 final dog attack stats with breed.
1) Cameron Hatfield, 6, January 20, 2021, Seabrooke, SC. Found/rescued pit bull.
2) Dreka Joe White, 1 month, February 10, 2021, Buffalo County, NE. Family pit bull.
3) Nils Andrew Erickson, 8 months, February 20, 2021, Epsom, NH. Family pit bull.
4) Aziz Ahmed, 3, March 16, 2021, Carteret, NJ. Mother also mauled by neighbor’s 2 pit bulls.
5) A’Myrikal Jolynn Hull, 1, March 18, 2021, Springfield, IL. Family “pocket pit/Patterdale.”
6) Rhonda Lobuono, 58, March 25, 2021, Cranston, RI. Own pit bull pulled her in front of pickup truck.
7) Megan Fisher, 17, April 2, 2021, SW Middlesex, Ontario. Killed by three pit bulls at a friend’s house.
8) Jayden Henderson, 7, April 27, 2021, Garner, NC. Killed, mother Heather Trevaskis mauled, by two pit bulls they were pet-sitting.
9) Elayah Brown, 4, April 30, 2021, Fort Worth, TX. Killed by family pit bull.
(See Three pit bull-related deaths in three days ended April 2021.)
10) Dustin Vincent, 27, May 6, 2021, Sulphur, LA. Mauled by three pit bulls belonging to a breeder, died 5 days later.
(See Three pit bull-related deaths in three days ended April 2021.)
11) Carter Settles, 1 month, May 10, 2021, Norwich, CT. Killed by family pit bull.
12) John Henry, 46, May 11, 2021, Big Spring, TX. Killed on street by pit bull.
13) Jose Ortega, 53, May 24, 2021, Veguita, NM. Killed on street by pit bull pack whose owner, Dominic Ribera, has been criminally charged.
14) Elijah Soto, 3, June 9, 2021, Elizabeth, NJ. Fell out window, killed by two family pit bulls.
15) Shamar Sharif Jackson, 7, June 13, 2021, Marion, SC. Killed by pit pack who were chasing his Chihuahua.
16) Rebecca McCurdy, 28, June 20, 2021, Skiatook, OK. Killed by pit while housesitting at breeder’s home.
17) George Alan Martin, 41, June 25, 2021, Anderson, MO. Found dead in ditch, stripped, with multiple bite wounds. Mother Helen Martin blames neighbor’s pit bull and Rottweiler known for running at large.
18) Man, reportedly 39, June 23, 2021, Brooklyn, NY. Wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy victim killed by two pit bulls. Investigation indicates that the victim was actually Ronald R. Borchert,, 63.
19) Cartyr Lous, 8 months, June 27, 2021, Redding, CA. Killed by family pit bull in grandmother’s home.
20) Maria Eliza Sebastian Ruiz, 77, July 6, 2021, Phoenix, AZ. Killed by neighbor Alejandro Hernandez’s four pit bulls; Hernandez has been criminally charged.
21) Unnamed man, 66, July 18, 2021, New Orleans, LA. Killed by relative’s pit bull after climbing in window.
22) Rebecca Marie Dooley, 59, July 18, 2021, El Paso, TX. Killed by daughter Clarissa Ornelas’ two pit bulls.
23) Emily Kahl, 31, July 18, 2021, Toledo, OH. Killed by own pit bull.
24) Rhoda Wagner, 61, July 28-2021, Newport, PA. Killed by roommate’s three pit bulls.
25) Disputed case: Katherine Janness, 40, July 28, 2021, Atlanta, GA. Possibly killed by own pit bull, found stabbed to death at the scene; family and police believe both were stabbed to death by third party who carved initials “F-A-T” on Janness’ body, but all three “letters,” found in different places on the body, could also be incisions made by teeth.
26) Javon Stokes, 26, August 11, 2021, East Toledo, OH. Killed by pit bull belonging to Amanda Knezevich & her fiance Austin Dotson.
27) Mildred Catherine Vaughan, 89, August 30, 2021, Winston-Salem, NC. Injured by neighbor’s three pits bulls on August 21 while checking her mailbox; died in hospital nine days later.
28) Dolores Teresa Oskins, 85, September 5, 2021, Kea’au, HI. Injured on August 14, together with men, 88 and 89, by multiple pit bulls running at large; died in hospital three weeks later.
29) Loretta Mae Moore, 84, September 14, 2021, Lebanon, IN. Killed by two huskies, two mutts, and a pit bull in son Jim Moore’s home.
30) Frank Jerome Cobb, 70, September 21, 2021, Phenix City, AL. Killed by pit bull running at large.
31) Amber Dawn LaBelle, 42, September 24, 2021, Myrtle Point, OR. New boyfriend’s pit bull.
32) Alex Binyam Abraha, 21, September 24, 2021, Coweta County, GA. Killed by two pit bulls after breaking into house.
33) Patti Webb, 65, September 24, 2021, Avoca, AR. Pit bull rescuer was killed by two pit bulls kept by renter.
34) Kavay Louis-Calderon, 16 months, October 3, 2021, Akron, OH. Killed by two pit bulls in home, one of whom previously attacked a mail carrier.
35) Kathleen Bertram, 69, October 19-2021, Matthews, IN. Killed by family pit bull in home while holding 3-year-old.
36) Stephen Rucinski, 41, November 5, 2021, McKeesport, PA. Killed by pit who mauled two others four weeks earlier.
37) Male baby, 8 days, November 10, 2021, Kenly, NC. Family took in stray pit bull.
38) Tiffany Frangione, 48, November 19, 2021, Houston, TX. Killed by own pit bull/Cane Corso cross and husky mix while breaking up a fight.
30) Avery Jackson Dunphy, 6, November 23, 2021, Dona Ana County, NM. Killed by three pit bulls fostered by grandfather for the Animal Services Center of Mesilla Valley.
40) Leann Gratzer, 61, December 6, 2021, St. Clair, MO. Three pits kept by daughter and her girlfriend.
41) Heather Pingal, 35, December 8, 2021, Bowler, WI. Saved son, 4, from family pit bull; died from injuries eight days later
42) Lori Martin, 60, 12-9-2021, Cherryvale, SC. Killed by pit bull and three boxers kept by her family.
43) Duke Little Whirlwind, 58, December 12, 2021, Lame Deer, MT. Rosebud Reservation pack attack involving at least three pit bulls and pit mixes.
44) Unidentified man, 34, December 30, 2021, Chicago, IL. Killed by three pit bulls.
45) Unidentified man, no age, no date, Claremore, OK. Claremore resident Rise Morrow was charged in February 2022 with manslaughter in sepsis death of man following November 2020 pit bull attack that also severely injured two women.
1) Tony Allen Ahrens, 53, April 1, 2021, Newport, TN. Found dead three months before Amber Miller died at same site. Cane Corso owner Charles Owensby was charged with drug-related offenses as result of police investigation.
2) Amber Miller, 29, July 12-2021, Newport, TN. Found dead where Tony Ahrens was killed. Cane Corso owner Charles Owensby was charged with drug-related offenses as result of police investigation.
3) Karen Rosa Madrid, 26, December 28, 2021, East Valinda, CA. Mauled while trying to climb in window.at home shared with sister-in-law by four Cane Corsos kept by the sister-in-law.
Already listed: Tiffany Frangione, 48, November 19, 2021, Houston, TX. Killed by own pit bull/Cane Corso cross and husky mix while breaking up a fight.
German shepherd / hound / cur mix
1) Deann Stephenson, 59, February 15, 2021, Porter, TX. Killed by four dogs belonging to neighbor.
1) Leon Julian Peysen, 70, May 6, 2021, Hewitt, Texas. Killed in car crash in a parking lot, after his husky inflicted a bite to his neck so severe that police initially thought it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Already listed: Tiffany Frangione, 48, 11-19-2021, Houston, TX. Killed by own pit bull/Cane Corso cross and husky mix while breaking up a fight.
1) Elliott Sherwin, 4, May 9, 2021, Whitehall, MT.
2) Malia Scott Winberry, 10 months, May 25, 2021, Angier, NC.
Already listed: George Alan Martin, 41, June 25, 2021, Anderson, MO. Found dead in ditch, stripped, with multiple bite wounds. Mother Helen Martin blames neighbor’s pit bull and Rottweiler known for running at large.
3) Ryan Francis Foster, 19 months, August 10, 2021, Flatbush, Brooklyn, NYC. Killed by grandparents’ Rottweiler. Father Vernon Foster charged with criminal negligent homicide.
5) Sally Fredrica Rogers, 91, September 2, 2021, Bloomfield Township, MI. Family Rottweiler.
1) Bentley Parker, 6 months, October 18, 2021, Kodak, TN. Killed at grandmother’s home.
1) James Mcneelis, 7, October 20, 2021, Kiefer, OK. Newly adopted “sheltie/corgi” mix found with 7-year-old victim, but father was uncertain of the dog’s actual identity.
1) Lyssa Rose Upshaw, 13, May 16, 2021, Window Rock, AZ. Navajo Nation pack attack.
2) Eric Daniel Grimm, 48, July 18, 2021, Lebanon, Oregon. Died of apparent heart attack immediately after breaking up fight between two household dogs.
3) Braylyn B. Culver-Green, 3, November 22, 2021, Lubbock, TX.