Two-year-old & 17-month-old are two latest victims of legal omission
WORCESTERSHIRE, United Kingdom––A pre-inquest review of the March 28, 2022 fatal Rottweiler mauling of two-year-old Lawson Bond, now set for August 31, 2022 in Stourport, is likely to investigate every aspect of Bond’s death except the obvious: that the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, supposed to protect the British public from the dogs most likely to kill someone, instead exempted the two dog breeds who are most likely to kill someone.
Rottweilers & “Staffordshires” get free pass
Specifically, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 exempted Rottweilers, and while nominally prohibiting possession of pit bulls, exempted them too, so long as they are called “Staffordshires.”
Lawson Bond “suffered serious injuries and was in cardiac arrest” after the attack at his parents’ home in rural Egdon, wrote Evesham Journal reporter Joseph Broady. Bond died in Birmingham Children’s Hospital two days later.
Three Rotts removed from property
“Three Rottweilers were removed from the property following the attack,” Broady continued. “The dogs were securely housed by West Mercia police for a number of weeks and were subsequently put down.”
“There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing,” Broady finished.
17-month-old Bella-Rae Birch suffered fatal injuries a week to the day earlier at her home in St. Helens, 115 miles straight north, inflicted by a dog initially described by Kieran Gair of The Times of London as “a Staffordshire bull terrier or pit bull-type.”
Added Gair, “Police said the family had bought the dog only a week ago.”
“American bully XL”
Updated Sunday Times associate editor Rod Liddle a day later, “An American bully XL dog savaged the little girl as her mother, Treysharn Bates, screamed.
“This is a horrible, mortifying and desperately sad story, and perhaps the correct response should be simply to grieve for that young life taken away and to sympathize with the family. That is usually what we do in such circumstances — and as a consequence the death is soon forgotten as just another one of those awful things that happen by chance.”
However, noted Liddle, after evidently reviewing but not mentioning the ANIMALS 24-7 breed-specific list of British dog attack fatalities, the current edition of which is below, “There are no Labs or King Charles spaniels or poodles on that list of British deaths from dogs. But then the sort of people who buy pit bulls wouldn’t be seen dead with a King Charles. It is the very ferocity of these animals — usually given an agreeable name such as Tyson or Satan or Hitler — that attracts them.”
“Foreign” pit bull variants were banned
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 banned American pit bull terriers, Japanese tosas, Fila Brasileiros, and Dogo Argentinos––all of them breeds produced and historically used chiefly for dogfighting, and all considered foreign.
Fifteen people had been killed by dogs in Great Britain in the decade before the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 was introduced, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Why not Rotts?
That Rottweilers were not named in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 ban is somewhat understandable.
No Rottweiler killed anyone in Britain before December 2007, when 13-month-old Archie-Lee Andrew Hirst, son of 18-year-old Rebecca Hirst and 20-year-old Damien Williamson, was mauled in his grandparents’ garden in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Police shot the Rottweiler who killed Hirst at the scene.
However, Rottweilers had killed six Americans in the six years preceding the passage of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Even a cursory look at dog attack fatalities in other nations should have shown Parliament that Rottweilers had become the dog breed second most likely to kill someone, though very far behind pit bulls.
RSPCA & National Canine Defence League
That the pit bull ban was weakened by exempting “Staffordshires” indicates chiefly that the British parliamentarians simply failed to educate themselves in response to vigorous lobbying from pit bull advocates, including within the Royal SPCA of Great Britain and Dogs Trust, then still known by the original name National Canine Defence League.
The initial advocates for banning pit bulls, then known simply as “bulldogs,” were prominent dog fanciers themselves, who also fought successfully to ban baiting bulls and bears with dogs and dogfighting.
Wrote Thomas Bewick in A General History of Quadrupeds (1807), “As the bulldog always makes his attack without barking, it is very dangerous to approach him alone, without great precaution.”
“Barbarous & infamous purposes”
The 1818 Manual of British Field Sports asserted that, “The bulldog, devoted solely to the most barbarous and infamous purposes, the real blackguard of his species, has no claim upon utility, humanity, or common sense, and the total extinction of the breed is a desirable consummation.”
Observed Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hamiliton Smith, author of The Natural History of Dogs, published serially in 1839-1840 by W.H. Lizars of Edinburgh, Scotland, and generally recognized as the first definitive encyclopedia of dog breeds, “The bull-dog is possessed of less sagacity and less attachment than any of the hound tribe; he is therefore less favored, and more rarely bred with care, excepting by professed amateurs of sports and feelings little commendable to humanity. He never leaves his hold, when once he has got it, while life lasts.”
The “Staffordshire” was invented in response to ban
Contrary to pit bull mythology, there was no dog line in Britain, either then or until 150 years later, called a “Staffordshire.”
This is easily verified just by searching the multi-century archives of British newspapers accessible at NewspaperArchive.com.
The “Staffordshire” name originated as a sales ploy by dogfighter John P. Colby, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, who produced his first litter of fighting dogs in 1889.
Colby pits had history of mauling children
The Boston Globe on December 29, 1906 reported that police shot one of his dogs, who mauled a boy while a girl escaped.
On February 2, 1909 the Globe described how one of Colby’s dogs killed Colby’s two-year-old nephew, Bert Colby Leadbetter.
Unable to secure an American Kennel Club pedigree for his pit bulls under names that the AKC associated with dogfighting, Colby chartered the Staffordshire Club of America.
The AKC then accepted the Colby pit bulls as a pedigreed line. As the breed standard for the Staffordshire, the AKC chose the fighting dog known as Colby’s Primo.
“Staffordshire” name gave pit bulls cover
Colby’s wife Florence continued the Colby breeding program after her husband’s death in 1941. She also served as president of the Staffordshire Club of America. Two of Colby’s sons helped to popularize pit bulls under the Staffordshire name: Joseph Colby, author of American Pit Bull Terrier (1936), and Louis Colby, co-author with Diane Jessup of Colby’s Book of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Both books make explicitly clear that a Staffordshire is a pit bull––and Colby himself continued to fight his Staffordshire pit bulls to the end of his life.
The Colby use of the name “Staffordshires,” unprecedented in Britain until Colby sold some pit bulls to British dogfighters, gave cover to pit bull advocates to claim that Staffordshires were a separate and safer ancient English breed.
Parliament swallowed “Staffordshire” claim like a pit bull swallows a spaniel
Parliament appears to have swallowed that argument without even asking for supporting evidence.
“The intention of the Dangerous Dogs Act was to eliminate breeds like pit bulls in this country,” then-home secretary Kenneth Lord Baker recalled in a 2010 interview with The Daily Telegraph.
“For the first five years it worked very well,” Baker said, “but as soon as the Government gave in to animal charities, the whole thing was doomed.”
There were six dog attack fatalities in the U.K. from 1992 through 1996, the first five years that the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 was in effect.
There were eight dog attack fatalities in the U.K. during the next five years, from 1997 through 2001, and then 17 from 2002 through 2006, followed by 19 from 2007 through 2011.
The five-year time frame from 2012 through 2016 brought 22 U.K. dog attack fatalities.
Half of fatalities by “Staffordshires”
Intensified enforcement of the ban on “American” pit bulls cut the death toll to just 10 from 2017 through 2021, but five of the 10 fatalities were inflicted by “Staffordshires.”
Then came three dog attack deaths in the first three months of 2022.
Kyra Leanne King, reportedly killed on March 6, 2022 by her parents’ husky, was the first reported U.K. husky victim.
Forty-three people in all have been killed by attacks involving 57 dogs in the U.K. since 2007. Among those dogs were 40 pit bulls, 18 of them officially identified by British authorities as Staffordshires.
Surveying reports of 3,179 cruelty and neglect cases, dog attack cases, and dogfighting cases published worldwide from January 2005 to May 1, 2022, ANIMALS 24-7 found the same dogs described as both Staffordshires and pit bulls in 2,447 cases, or 77%.
U.K. dog attack victim Age Date Dog
Lawson Bond 2 years 03-28-2022 3 Rottweilers Bella-Rae Birch 17 months 03-21-2022 American bully XL Kyra Leanne King 03 months 03-06-2022 Husky Adam Watts 55 years 12-22-2021 Pit bull Jack Lis 10 years 11-08-2021 American bully XL Lucille Downer 85 years 04-02-2021 2 pit bulls Keira Ladlow 25 years 02-05-2021 Staffordshire Jonny Halstead 35 years 01-29-2020 Staffordshire Elayne Stanley 44 years 09-24-2019 2 pit bulls Sharon Jennings ** 55 years 06-10-2019 Pit bull Frankie Macritchie 9 years 04-13-2019 Pit bull Reuben Malachi McNulty 5 weeks 11-18-2018 2 Staffordshires Mario Perivoitos 41 years 03-20-2017 Staffordshire Archie Joe Darby 04 months 10-14-2016 Staffordshire Dexter Neal 03 years 08-21-2016 Pit bull David Ellam 52 years 08-16-2016 Staffordshire Stephen Hodgson 45 years 05-22-2016 Staffordshire/pit mix Liam Hewitson 22 years 01-01-2016 Legal "pit bull mix” Bill George 68 years 10-09-2015 Pit bull (sepsis) Irene Collins 73 years 09-04-2015 GSD/spaniel mix Reggie Young 03 weeks 06-20-2015 Patterdale terrier Rhona Greve 64 years 03-20-2015 Pit bull Lexi Branson 4 years 11-04-2014 Bull mastiff Molly Mae Wotherspoon 6 month 08-03-2014 Pit bull Eliza Mae Malone 6 days 02-18-2014 Malamute Ava Jane Corliss 11 months 02-10-2014 Pit bull Barry Walsh 46 years 01-09-2014 Staffordshire Emma Bennett 27 years 12-??-2013 Staffordshire & pit Lexie Hudson 5 years 11-05-2013 French mastiff (Doge du Bordeaux) Leslie Lawn * 40 years 09-??-2013 Staffordshires (2) Clifford Clarke 79 years 05-26-2013 Staffordshire/ bull mastiff mix Jade Lomas-Anderson 14 years 03-26-2013 2 Staffordshires, 2 bull mastiffs Harry Harper 01 weeks 11-21-2012 Jack Russell Gloria Knowles 71 years 10-30-2012 2 French mastiffs, 2 American bull dogs, one “small mongrel" Brian Cruse + 78 years 09-20-2012 Pit bull Leslie Trotman @ 83 years 01-23-2011 Pit bull Barbara Williams 52 years 12-24-2010 Cane corso Zumer Ahmed 18 months 04-17-2010 Pit bull John Paul Massey 04 years 11-30-2009 Pit bull Oluwaseyi Ogunyemi # 16 years 04-??-2007 2 Staffordshires Jaden Mack 03 months 02-06-2009 Staffordshire & Jack Russell Archie-Lee Andrew Hirst 13 months 12-??-2007 Rottweiler Ellie Lawrenson 05 years 01-01-2007 Pit bull
* No evident cause of death; coroner claimed dogs dismembered remains after death.
+ Suffered fatal head injury responsible for the death.
@ Died of injuries six days after the attack.
# Dogs disabled the victim on command; Chrisdain Johnson, 22, was convicted of subsequently stabbing him to death.
** Broke up fight at dog park; died of sepsis.