Joe Cleveland Scott & Mateo Salvador were 10th U.S. dog attack fatalities in 10 weeks
JURUPA VALLEY, California; McDONALD CHAPEL, Alabama––As of the moment, ANIMALS 24-7 has discovered little about the lives of Joe Cleveland Scott, 73, of McDonald Chapel, Alabama, just outside Birmingham, and Mateo Lucas Salvador, 42, of Jurupa Valley, California, in Riverside County.
Scott and Salvador were the first reported victims of fatal dog attacks in March 2023, killed on March 1, 2023 and March 7, 2023, respectively, raising the toll for the year to 10 in 10 weeks.
Surging Malinois attacks, but pit bulls are also involved in most
Both Scott and Salvador died in early-morning multi-dog mauling, which together increased the toll of fatalities partially attributable to Malinois over the past 40 years to seven, all of them coming since 2016.
Before pit bull advocates crow that the deaths of Scott and Salvador demonstrate that “any dog can kill,” ANIMALS 24-7 must point out that four of the seven fatalities involving Malinois also involved pit bull-type dogs.
Multiple pit bull mixes were involved in the six-dog fatal mauling of Joe Cleveland Scott, who was reportedly taking a morning walk.
Mateo Salvador came early to work
A Cane Corso participated, along with three Malinois, in killing Mateo Lucas Salvador.
Salvador, from Guatemala City, Guatemala, with a wife and five children still in Guatemala, was known to be fond of cats.
Salvador had apparently arrived for work a few minutes early at Homeland Electric, directly across Bellegrave Avenue from Jurupa Valley High School, where students were already assembling for classes.
A passer-by heard Salvador screaming for help and called sheriff’s deputies, who reportedly arrived within minutes.
“The dogs would often get out”
Homeland Electric owner Daniel Martinez, who founded the company in 2018, “arrived within several hours and immediately surrendered the four dogs to animal control officers,” wrote Pristine Villarreal of City News Service.
“A neighbor who did not wish to be named told NBC4 that the dogs would often get out because workers going in and out of the property would leave the gate open,” reported Rudy Chinchilla and Tony Shin of KNBC.
“The dogs chase the cars, the high school students. They’re dangerous, that’s why I close my gate all the time – I have small children and that’s why I close it,” the neighbor told Chinchilla and Shin.
Riverside County leads all U.S. counties in fatal dog attacks
A little more than five million people live in Alabama, where five people have been killed by dogs––all by pit bulls––since 2017.
About half as many, 2.5 million, live in Riverside County, California, where 10 people have been killed by dogs since 2007.
This appears to be the most fatalities known to have occurred in any one county, anywhere in the world, since ANIMALS 24-7 began logging the data in 1982.
`The 23 dogs involved reportedly included 15 pit bulls, three pit bull/Weimaraner mixes, two bullmastiffs also identified as Cane Corsos, two Rottweilers, and an Akita.
“Not very often”
Aware of the high Riverside County death toll––and also aware of an abnormally high number of Riverside County disfiguring maulings by pit bulls, in particular––ANIMALS 24-7 immediately questioned a reported statement by longtime Riverside County Animal Services spokesperson John Welsh, quoted by Mona Darwish of the Riverside Press Enterprise, that, “We don’t deal with these types of incidents in our county.”
Darwish called within minutes to clarify that the words “very often” were accidentally dropped from her text, and to share additional information about the attack with ANIMALS 24-7.
“Quote is wrong”
Welsh responded by email about 90 minutes later.
“Quote is wrong,” Welsh confirmed. “I did not say that. The context is incorrect. I said it is not a common occurrence (fatal attacks).
“But I shared with her [Darwish] we had an incident in Rancho Mirage about 10 years ago that included two Cane Corso dogs that killed their owner.”
The victim in that case was Hill Andrew Williams Jr., 38, fatally mauled in his own yard on March 17, 2009. Both dogs were euthanized.
First Riverside County victims of the century
The first Riverside County dog attack victim of the 21st century appears to have been Gerald Adelmund, 60, of Rubidoux, fatally mauled on December 19, 2008 by his own two pit bulls, one of them believed to have been a mastiff cross, in his yard.
Surviving family authorized euthanasia of both adult pit bulls and their nine puppies.
Hill A. Williams was next.
Edward Mitchell, 67, of Murrieta, was mauled by his family’s pit bull on October 14, 2010, but did not die from complications of his injuries until December 5, 2010.
Christina Casey, 53, of Moreno Valley, was meanwhile killed on November 2, 2010 by a neighbor’s two pit bull/Weimaraner crosses, who dug under her fence to attack her.
Four seniors in four years
A man who had been reported missing was found dead in a field near Perris with his pit bull on December 30, 2012. The pit bull attacked a sheriff’s deputy, who shot the pit bull. The man’s name and other information was withheld.
Nationally noted watercolorist Elsie Grace, 91, of Desert Hot Springs, was fatally mauled by two family pit bulls in a Hemet motel room on February 8, 2013.
Annabell Martin, 89, was next, killed by her grandson’s three Rottweilers at their home in Corona. One of the Rottweilers was shot at the scene by police; the other two were euthanized later.
Emilio Rios Sr., 65, of North Shore at the northern edge of the Salton Sea, was killed by two pit bulls who escaped from a neighbor’s yard on September 8, 2015. Another neighbor, Luisa Rodriguez, suffered multiple severe injuries in attempting to rescue Rios.
“Proximate cause” death
The most recent Riverside fatality, before Mateo Salvador, was found dead in his Mead Valley home on November 11, 2019, after his two pit bulls severely mauled a woman while running at large.
Riverside County Animal Services spokesperson John Welsh told media that authorities did not believe the dogs caused the death, but while coroners typically list only deaths caused by bites as dog attack fatalities, ANIMALS 24-7 also counts deaths by “proximate cause” such as a heart attack or a hard fall, which are also prosecutable in a civil lawsuit if the dog belongs to someone other than the victim.