Mauling death of child just a few miles away gets less coverage than John Tyson’s pants
SPRINGDALE, Arkansas––The November 6, 2022 arrest of Tyson Foods chief financial officer John Tyson, 32, might be said to have upstaged the Tyson Foods slaughter of 155,000 cows, 461,000 pigs, and 45 million chickens during the next week, a typical week for the Springdale, Arkansas conglomerate, which kills 2.4 billion animals per year.
The John Tyson arrest also upstaged a November 4, 2022 dog attack on the outskirts of Springdale that killed a “toddler” not yet identified to media. Neither the family nor the breed of dog involved have been named by Arkansas law enforcement.
Why Tyson’s pants became news
From the media perspective that “When man bites dog, that’s news,” which responds to what the public tends to find noteworthy, Tyson Foods animal slaughter––though shocking and deplorable to vegans and vegetarians––is just business as usual, unlikely to interest any more people today than yesterday and the day before.
The dog-inflicted death of the child might be more newsworthy if it happened less often.
But the John Tyson bust had little known precedent.
John Tyson, a fourth generation member of the Tyson Foods founding family and a graduate of both Harvard University and the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, was found drunk, pantless, and asleep at two a.m. in the bed of a woman who did not know him, described by police as “a college-age female.”
John Tyson, believed to have entered the woman’s house through an unlocked front door, was charged with public intoxication.
He later apologized by email to fellow Tyson employees for what he termed an “embarrassing” incident.
Dog kills migrant worker
There have been neither arrests nor public apologies for any of the fatal dog attacks reported from November 3, 2022 to November 10, 2022, only one of which received more than transient media notice.
The Springdale attack was briefly mentioned by local news stations KNWA/KFTA.
Only KGNS in Laredo, Texas appears to have done any on-the-scene original coverage of the mauling death about 24 hours earlier of an as yet unidentified female.
“El Norte,” Laredo edition
Reported Justin Reyes of KGNS, “Surveillance video from a nearby home captured the moments first responders arrived and found the woman injured at the scene.
“After an autopsy conducted by the Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office,” Reyes said, “officials believe the woman was in her twenties, from Guatemala, and had crossed the Rio Grande when she was apparently attacked by a dog.
“The medical examiner stated that the woman had sustained multiple bite marks all over her body which ultimately resulted in her death.”
The story line echoed that of the 1983 film El Norte, except that the young Guatemalan refugee woman in El Norte died from typhus contracted through a rat bite suffered while crawling into the U.S. through a storm sewer.
Rottweiler & Rhodesian ridgebacks
The surveillance video of the Laredo death scene appeared to show a free-roaming Rottweiler.
Video from the neighborhood taken several days or weeks earlier showed two free-roaming Rhodesian ridgebacks, said by a local woman who declined to be identified to have attacked her son on multiple occasions.
“Residents who live in the area say they have had issues with stray dog attacks in the past,” continued Reyes, “but when they try to reach out to animal control nothing gets done.”
The Texans who allow Rottweilers and Rhodesian ridgebacks to roam south Laredo unchecked may have no more regard for immigrant lives than Tyson Foods has for the animals the company slaughters for human consumption.
In Richmond, Virginia, however, the November 10, 2022 pit bull mauling death of 88-year-old Evangeline Brooks provoked an outburst of community outrage including demands that Virginia state laws be reformed to hold dangerous dog owners more strictly to account.
Evangeline Brooks lived with her son Howvard Brooks, just a few doors away from the home of her recently deceased sister.
Evangeline Brooks was ambushed by the free-roaming pit bull who killed her while walking to her late sister’s home to check for accumulated mail.
“A pillar in the church”
Richmond police told media that the pit bull was surrendered to Richmond Animal Care & Control custody immediately after Evangeline Brooks died, and was immediately euthanized.
But that was of course too late to prevent the fatal attack.
Evangeline Brooks “was a teacher for many years at A.M. Davis Elementary School in Chesterfield.. She impacted a lot of lives,” said son Howvard Brooks.
First Baptist Church of South Richmond pastor Dwight C. Jones remembered Evangeline Brooks to Scott Wise and Cameron Thompson of WTVR as “one of the mothers of our church, a pillar in the church, Sunday school teacher, choir member, a deacon, a mentor, a person who was well thought of by many, indeed the salt of earth and one in a million.
“She was an excellent, excellent Christian woman. She really commanded a lot of respect.”
“She was very active in the Deacons Ministry of Richmond and vicinity,” added First Baptist Church of South Richmond executive minister Cheryl Ivey Green.
“She was known all over the city of Richmond. She was just such a wonderful mentor to all deacons, but especially female deacons. She was very specific about your dress and your attire, and how you should respond as a deacon and act as a deacon and how we should even operate when we were visiting other churches.”
Dwight C. Jones, recalled Autumn Childress of WRIC, “In addition to serving as mayor of Richmond from January 2009 to December 2015, was a Virginia state delegate from 1994 to 2009.”
That gave Dwight C. Jones an authoritative position from which to implore local leaders “to do more to protect people from dogs.”
“Leaves a vacuum”
Said Jones, “When the elders leave the church, it leaves a vacuum, because their norms, their mores, their understanding of how to live life is so different than today’s generation.
“So every time we lose one, we lose more than a person. We are chipping away at what makes for a civil society, what makes for a society where people love God and love each other. So her loss is chipping away at that foundation.”
Another Jones, Richmond City Council member Mike Jones, said similar.
“My heart goes out to the family,” Mike Jones began. “When I heard about it, I was pissed. I was hurt. I was sad and mad at the same time because this is how this woman had to die,” Mike Jones told Ashley Hendricks of WWBT.
“The horrendous death motivated Jones to consider introducing legislation he says would help prevent dog attacks,” Hendricks reported.
Elaborated Mike Jones, “If we’re not doing a ban, we should be looking at some very strict restrictions on ownership.” Jones said.
But NBC 12 legal commentator Steve Benjamin cautioned that, “State law currently prohibits any substantial penalty [for dog behavior] beyond a fine, and dangerous dog statutes only address the problem after the fact.”
The most recent Virginia legislation addressing dog attacks was requires shelters and rescues to disclose dogs’ bite history. This requirement was adopted in 2018, following the 2017 deaths of Margaret M. Colvin, 90, and Bethany Lynn Stephens, 22, both of whom were killed by “rescue” pit bulls. In Stephens’ case, she herself was the rescuer.
Wolke gets 20 years for pit bull-assisted murder
Kentucky law, on the other hand, on November 8, 2022 sent Melissa D. Wolke, 38, to prison for 20 years after Wolke pleaded guilty in October 2022 to the pit bull-assisted murder of her former fiancé, Donald Wayne Abner, 55, of Richmond, Kentucky.
Wolke reportedly told Kentucky State Police investigators that the pit bull’s name was Denali, and that he was a former fighting dog, but was “friendly and obedient.”
Wolke and the pit bull killed Abner on January 10, 2020.
Kentucky State Police spokespersons said they responded to a reported domestic disturbance in the back yard of a home in the Conway, Rockcastle County, arriving to find Wolke on top of Abner, punching him and ordering her pit bull to attack him.
Abner had already suffered bites to his neck and face.
“Wolke,” who was also charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest, “had to be tazed to get her off the victim, and she refused to call off her dog. As a result, the dog had to be shot and killed,” reported WTVQ at the time.
Multiple names & eight priors
Melissa D. Wolke, apparently also known as Melissa Sue Wolke, Melissa Daniel, and Melissa Diment, had at least eight prior arrests since 2014 for alleged drug-and-alcohol-related offenses, and had served prison time.
Her victim, Abner, a former auto body repairman whose chief interest appeared to be music, might have kept and occasionally bred pit bulls as far back as 1989, a Facebook photo of an adult pit bull and puppies hinted.