Murders soared, Canada Day through July 4, 2023, but animals killed humans at even faster pace
With some reports perhaps yet to arrive, the animals-against-humans tally for the four-day 2023 Canada Day/Fourth of July weekend appears to been one death by bull, two by pit bulls, and one by an alligator.
In view that there are approximately 40 times more humans in the U.S. and Canada than bulls, pit bulls, and alligators combined, this was proportionately nine times the death rate from humans-vs.-humans mayhem, including 20 fatal shootings and 126 gunshot wounds in the U.S. on the Fourth of July itself.
Rottweilers attack on Canada Day in Calgary
Two Rottweilers nearly jumped out to an early lead in the body count, mauling a six-year-old girl on Canada Day in the Bridlewood neighborhood of Calgary, Alberta.
“The child suffered severe injuries, and was transported to Alberta Children’s Hospital in serious, and potentially life-threatening condition,” reported Megan Yamoah for MSN.
“In an email to Global News, City of Calgary bylaw enforcement confirmed the dogs have been seized, and the owner has transferred ownership of the animals to the city,” Yamoah added.
Calgary has become notorious in recent years for having more fatal and disfiguring dog attacks, mostly by pit bulls, than any other city in Canada.
Bull rider bought the farm
The following day, July 2, 2023, 19-year-old bull rider Seth Saulteaux “was bucked off and fatally injured by a bull at a rodeo in the Nakoda First Nation,” reported Jessica Lee of the Local Journalism Initiative.
“Homer Holloway, a member of the Nakoda Nation’s Canada Day Rodeo committee, said the rider was hit in the back of the head by the bull’s horn after he was thrown during competition at the Chiniki Rodeo Grounds,” Lee continued.
“Holloway said the incident occurred around 5:00 p.m.,” Lee continued. “The rider was one of the final participants in the bull-riding competition, and the four-day rodeo was a qualifying stop on the Indian National Finals Rodeo circuit.”
Said Holloway, “He had a helmet on. The helmet didn’t even crack or anything, but the bull rider was helped up and he walked out of the arena, went behind the bucket chutes, and that’s where he collapsed.”
Killed by daughter & son-in-law’s pit bull-type dogs
A helmet would not have saved Anthony Gerard Bastardi either. Bastardi, 67, of Clayton, North Carolina, was killed by two family dogs on July 3, 2023.
Summarized Johnson County Report, “According to the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, Bastardi’s daughter and her family were out of town on vacation. The family had hired a local animal hospital to care for a Cane Corso and a bull terrier [pit bull] while they were away.
“While at the home, the animal hospital employee let the two dogs out of the house into the back yard, which is enclosed by a fence. While in the back yard,” Johnson County Report said, “the Cane Corso reportedly bit the employee in the leg. The victim left the dogs in the back yard, retreated to safety, and notified the pet owners.
First U.S. death by pit bull in 10 days
“The family reportedly called Bastardi, who was familiar with both dogs and had been around them multiple times.
“Bastardi arrived at the home around 12:30 p.m.,” Johnson County Report continued, “and told the animal hospital employee it was okay for her to leave.”
Bastardi was apparently killed moments later. The first arriving police officer shot and wounded the Cane Corso in order to approach Bastardi, found the bull terrier [pit bull] “still attacking the victim,” Johnson County Report said, “shot and killed the bull terrier to end the attack,” and then shot the Cane Corso a second time, this time fatally.
Bastardi was the first U.S. death by pit bull in ten days, and the first in July 2023.
One more June 2023 victim
Helene Jackson, 84, of Sierra Vista, Arizona, on June 23, 2023 became the fifth U.S. pit bull fatality of June 2023, apparently while walking her dog, who was found dead beside Jackson’s body. (There was also a June 2023 pit bull fatality in Canada.)
Sierra Vista police officers discovered the remains of Jackson and her dog after fatally shooting two pit bulls, one of them in the act of attacking Sam Sanches Jr., 55, who was hospitalized in Tucson in critical condition.
Alligator kills woman walking dog
An alligator got on the Canada Day-through-Fourth-of-July scoreboard on the morning of the Fourth in Spanish Wells, Beaufort County, North Carolina.
Holly Jenkins, 69, was apparently killed while walking her dog beside a golf course lagoon.
“Officers said they saw the alligator, who appeared to be guarding the woman’s body. The gator was safely removed from the area and the woman’s body was recovered, according to the sheriff’s department,” WLTX reported, noting that Nancy Becker, 88, died in a similar alligator attack, also in Beaufort County, on August 15, 2022.
“Family” pit bull kills six-year-old
To that point the tally for the holiday weekend stood at one killed by bull, one by pit bull-type dogs, and the one by an alligator.
Less than an hour later, however, a three-year-old so-called family pit bull, raised from puppyhood in the home and said to have had no dangerous history, killed a six-year-old boy, whose name has not yet been disclosed, at his home in North Port, Florida.
Pit bull-type dogs have killed 14 people in Florida since 2017, but Florida governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill which prohibits local governments from enacting breed-specific legislation and mandates that pit bulls must be allowed in public housing.
Killer pit bull owner walks in Detroit
Going into the Canada Day-to-Fourth-of-July weekend, a Detroit jury on June 30, 2023 found Pierre Cleveland, 37, whose three pit bulls fatally mauled nine-year-old Emma Hernandez on August 19, 2019, not guilty of second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and possession of a dangerous animal causing death.
Hernandez was killed by Cleveland’s pit bulls while riding her bicycle in an alley between her family’s home and his.
Detroit Animal Care & Control, with just ten full time officers to cover 138 square miles inhabited by more than 673,000 people, had in March 2018 responded to neighbors’ complaints about Cleveland’s pit bulls by leaving a “notice of dog laws” on his front door. As there were no further complaints, Detroit Animal Care & Control did not follow up.
That lack of further complaints and follow-up allowed Cleveland to walk.
“Duane Johnson, Cleveland’s attorney, said Michigan law requires a person to know their dogs are dangerous to be liable; Cleveland’s dogs had no history of biting anyone or being dangerous, he said,” summarized Kara Berg of the Detroit News.
Added Berg, “They were around children and neighbors and ‘were not fierce dogs or dangerous dogs,’ Johnson said.”
But that contention appears to have been arguable chiefly because neighbors gave up on calling animal control, after the “notice of dog laws” was the sole response to their complaints.
“Johnson said he thinks the prosecutor’s office overcharged Cleveland with the second-degree murder charge in an attempt to “bully” him into pleading to a lower charge instead of taking his chances at trial. A second-degree murder conviction carries up to life in prison,” explained Berg.
Cleveland, responded assistant prosecutor Maria Miller, “knowingly created a very high risk of death or great bodily harm” by keeping the three pit bulls, but after a six-day trial the jury disagreed.
Cushingberry gets 30 years
People concerned about dangerous dogs––and humans––took some comfort later in the day when the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana announced that, “Tony Cushingberry, 24, of Indianapolis, has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to murder and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.”
The “crime of violence” originated from an aggressive Chihuahua repeatedly harassing mail carrier and pit bull rescuer Angela Summers, escalated when Summers delivered a warning to the household that their mail service would be suspended if the incidents continued, escalated again when Cushingberry’s mother allegedly threatened to set a pit bull on Summers, and culminated, after the household mail service was suspended, with Cushingberry shooting Summers in the chest on a neighbor’s front porch.