Pit bulls killed more Americans & Canadians in past six weeks than in any year before 2003
Trena Ranee Peed, 46, of Greensboro, North Carolina, four-year-old Lea Freeman of Dallas, Texas, sixty-two-year-old Dennis Moore of St. Louis, and one-year-old Apollo Duplantis, of New Orleans had in common that all four were alive as recently as July 7, 2022, and were torn apart bodily by pit bulls during the next four days.
Peed, Freeman, Moore, and Duplantis were scarcely unique in the manner of their deaths.
Michele Sheeks, 44, of Red Bay, Alabama, victim of an earlier pit bull attack, died on July 12, 2022 at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi.
Sheeks was the second death linked to the pit bulls who killed her.
Soaring body count
Pit bulls alone, as of July 12, 2022, had killed more Americans and Canadians in just six weeks––seven in the U.S., one in Canada––than the sum of all U.S. and Canadian pit bull attack deaths for any year preceding 2003.
The six fatalities inflicted by pit bulls in 2002 were, at the time, the most reported in any one year ever. Unfortunately, that record was more than doubled in 2003, quadrupled in 2009, and the annual toll was up to 32 by 2002.
In 2021 the death toll inflicted by pit bulls was 43.
Less than two weeks past mid-year 2022 the pit bull-inflicted death toll had reached 21.
Nine more people were killed in unwitnessed attacks, any or all of which might have involved pit bulls.
Other dogs involved
One person was killed by a Cane Corso, a close pit bull cousin. (See Cane Corso: A pit bull by any other name.)
Three-month-old Charlotte Hollman, of Gulf Breeze, Florida, the first dog attack fatality of 2022, was killed by a Dogue du Bordeaux, also a close pit bull cousin.
Two people were killed by Rottweilers.
Three were killed by German shepherds or Malinois. (See “Personal protection dogs” kill two in Knoxville suburbs in under 100 days.)
The total of 36 dog attack deaths through July 11, 2022, 34 in the U.S. and two in Canada, would have been a record for any one year as recently as 2010, but now has been exceeded in eight of the past 10 years.
Each victim had a life and a story.
Michele Sheeks, the first of the five early July 2022 pit bull victims to be attacked. was hospitalized on April 28, 2022 after a pack of six or seven pit bulls owned by Brandy Dowdy, 39, attacked Sheeks on a walk near her home.
Thereafter, Michelle Sheeks “never left the hospital,” her husband Wesley Sheeks, 37, told media in announcing her death.
Alabama Department of Public Health worker Jacqueline Summer Beard, 58, was killed by the same pit bull pack at the same location on April 29, 2022 while investigating the attack on Sheeks.
Michelle and Wesley Sheeks on June 6, 2022 sued Dowdy and property owner Billy Joe Crumpton, 50, for damages.
Dowdy, charged with manslaughter for Beard’s death, was released on bond, but her bond was revoked after she was arrested on July 10, 2022 for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
Franklin County sheriff Shannon Oliver told Jessica Barnett of WAAY television in Huntsville, Alabama that Dowdy would likely also be charged with manslaughter for Sheeks’ death.
“On July 13, the Franklin County assistant district attorney confirmed that the district attorney’s office will be seeking a manslaughter charge against Brandy Dowdy for Sheeks’s death,” reported Nick Kremer and Wade Smith for WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama.
Trena Ranee Peed
Trena Ranee Peed, also known as Trena Fields, mother of eight, was warmly remembered by her daughter Waynesha Peed as “always a true example of strength, love, and determination,” who “endured and overcame so much, most recently losing two of her sons,” ages 17 and 19, “two years apart in tragic car accidents. By her faith,” Waynesha Peed posted to Facebook, “she always had a smile on her face that could light up any room, loved to laugh, cook, enjoy life, and had a heart of gold.”
Many others shared similar impressions.
But in November 2017, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Trena Peed and two other people, Jennifer Peacock Thorne, then 47, and Anthony Jamall-Winston Thorne, then 24, were charged for the starvation deaths of two dogs, believed to be pit bulls, in a case in which two other dogs survived.
Convicted of not feeding dogs
Both Trena Peed and Anthony Jamall-Winston Thorne were convicted.
Reported WNCN in Fayetteville, “The incident happened in July, according to deputies. Treena Peed was moving and asked Anthony Jamall-Winston Thorne to keep an eye on her four dogs, according to Lieutenant Sean Swain of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
“Peed checked back in on the dogs a couple of times for the first two weeks, but then stopped, Swain said.”
Trena Peed was reportedly temporarily keeping the two pit bulls who killed her, against the advice of her mother, Helen Harris. The pit bulls reportedly dragged her outside through a doorway before mauling her to death. Neighbors heard her screaming but were unable to see what was happening in the dark. Arriving police officers shot one pit bull dead and impounded the other.
Whose were the pit bulls who killed Peed?
The pit bulls’ actual owner was said to be someone else who has not been identified.
Anthony Jamall-Winston Thorne has an extensive criminal record and may have been incarcerated when Trena Peed was killed.
Were the two pit bulls who mauled Trena Peed the two survivors of the litter involved in the 2017 case? Was Trena Peed looking after the pit bulls for Anthony Jamall-Winston Thorne?
ANIMALS 24-7 has made inquiries, but it is possible that no one other than the pit bulls’ owner actually knows.
Lea Freeman was “scared of the dogs”
Lea Freeman told her grandmother a week before her death that, “She was scared, and she felt scared of the dogs,” Arica Freeman reported Payton Yeager for Fox 4 News.
Arica Freeman “reached out to the Department of Family & Protective Services prior to the attack because she feared something like this would happen,” Yeager said.
The dogs were three pit bulls belonging to a woman so far identified only as “Simone,” from whom Lea Freeman’s mother, Tiara Freeman, 23, had rented a room in the high crime Oak Cliff district of Dallas in March 2022.
Homeless for some time before that, Tiara Freeman in May 2022 “found a job 10 minutes away,” reported Hojun Choi for the Dallas Morning News.
Mother left toddlers with pit bull owner while making beer run
On July 9, 2022, Tiara Freeman made an 8:00 a.m. beer run to a nearby store for several housemates, leaving Lea, age four, and another daughter, not quite age two, temporarily in care of “Simone.”
Tiara Freeman’s third child, a nine-month baby, was with her father.
When Tiara Freeman returned, she found Lea dead. “Simone” had been outside talking with across-the-street neighbor Michael Pennington.
Michael Pennington called emergency services.
“He and others who are familiar with the neighborhood said the dogs got loose on multiple occasions and showed aggressive behavior toward people,” Choi wrote. “Pennington’s sister, Lorie Pennington, said she had called the city’s animal services in May about the dogs escaping the house. Dallas Animal Services declined to answer questions related to how many calls they received from neighbors regarding the dogs.”
Mauled in a St. Louis alley
Dennis Moore, “a retired landscaper known in the neighborhood for helping the elderly cut their grass, always checked on his wife when she worked the night shift at a nursing home,” reported Pepper Baker of KSDK.
“Throughout the night he always call me, like 10:30 p.m., and say ‘Well, sweetheart, I’m about to go to sleep,’ then he’d call me again at 3:00 a.m. and then at 5 a.m.,” recalled newly widowed Melvina Moore, 49.
The Moores had recently celebrated their eighth anniversary.
“Last Saturday night, she knew something was wrong. The police answered the phone the next morning,” Baker narrated.
“I called him at 9:00 a.m.,” Moore said. “That’s when the police charged his phone up and I was the first caller.”
Animal control evades questions
Dennis Moore, explained KYVI investigative reporter Chris Hayes, “was found dead, reportedly with dogs still surrounding him in an alley.
“Melvina said a 92-year-old man spotted her husband,” Hayes continued, “and that man was reportedly attacked too, but survived. She credited him with leading police to the dogs.”
“Animal Control would not answer questions about the dogs seized,” Hayes added, “such as whether they were microchipped or registered and where they were found. Representatives would not answer by email or in person at the Animal Control office, where someone slammed the door on FOX 2’s request to see the dogs.
Who are these people working for?
“The Medical Examiner reported completing the autopsy,” Hayes mentioned, “but said it will be several weeks before they rule on the cause and manner of death. The Circuit Attorney’s Office did not respond to FOX 2’s request for information about possible criminal charges.
“As far as other calls regarding dangerous dogs in this area of the Penrose neighborhood, the Citizen’s Service Bureau reported only two calls for service this year.
“Alderwoman Sharon Tyus said she spoke to the dog owner in question, who reported to her that his dogs had escaped from a fenced backyard.”
ANIMALS 24-7 has previously observed the inclination of St. Louis -area animal care and control agencies to focus on protecting pit bulls instead of on protecting the public.
Apollo DuPlantis, the last to be attacked and the youngest of the five pit bull fatalities in five days, was just a month past his first birthday when attacked at his home at about 6:45 a.m. on July 11, 2022.
According to a Louisiana SPCA statement, the Louisiana SPCA’s New Orleans Humane Law & Rescue responded to the 911 call, along with the New Orleans Police Department, “and awaited a warrant to enter the property to seize the dog while the child was transported to receive immediate medical care.”
The pit bull, named Bear, by then was in a fenced back yard.
Two New Orleans Humane Law & Rescue officers tried unsuccessfully to catch the rampaging pit bull with animal control poles, coming under attack themselves. A New Orleans police officer then fatally shot the pit bull.
The victim’s mother, Amanda R. Brooks, a former travel agent, now operates a physical conditioning business.
The victim’s father, Dominic DuPlantis, is an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Tulane University Green Wave football team, as well as for other Tulane athletic teams.
A U.S. Marine Corps veteran of combat in Afghanistan, Duplantis was named but acquitted in a notorious November 2005 rape case, People of the Philippines vs. Dominic Duplantis, Keith Silkwood, and Daniel Smith.
The alleged victim, Suzette Nicolas, initially claimed she was gang-raped, but several days later recanted her accusations against all but Smith.
Duplantis and Silkwood established that they were elsewhere buying pizza when the alleged incident occurred.
Convicted, Smith spent three years in U.S. Embassy custody, facing a 40-year prison sentence, but was released after Nicolas surprised the prosecution by recanting all of her testimony in a handwritten affidavit delivered to the court by her mother.
The case “caught wide media coverage and achieved political and international significance,” recounts Wikipedia, “because of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the United States and the Philippines, which had been the subject of protests from the beginning.”
The public protests associated with that one incident dwarfed in magnitude all of the protests held to date over the 484 pit bull attack deaths occurring in the U.S. since then.