Rottweiler involvement disclosed by quick responses of Rottweiler defenders
HOUSTON, Texas; HOBART, Australia––Two fatal Rottweiler attacks in eight days, following the most recent reported fatal pit bull attack in the U.S., come as reminders that Rottweilers both in the U.S. and abroad have killed and disfigured more people over the past 41 years than any dog breed type except pit bulls, including pit bulls under other recently conferred names such as “American Bully XL.”
Ironically, both recent Rottweiler fatalities were not initially announced as such by law enforcement, and might not have been quickly recognized as such if Rottweiler enthusiasts with evident knowledge of the dogs and victims had not almost immediately gone online to defend the breed.
Three Rottweilers kill owner near Houston
The first of the two October 2023 Rottweiler victims, Jessica Flores Wauters, 59, was killed on October 8, 2023 by her own three Rottweilers in the backyard of her home in Tomball, Texas, a northern Houston suburb.
Responding to a call from Wauters’ 30-year old son, Harris County sheriff’s deputies found the victim unresponsive. She was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in Woodlands, ten miles east.
One Rottweiler, found with a bloody mouth, was reportedly shot at the scene. Two others were later euthanized by Harris County Animal Control.
Wauters was the sixth dog attack fatality in Harris County under two years.
Pit bulls killed four of five other recent Harris County victims
At least four of the five previous victims were killed by pit bulls.
Among them were Tiffany Frangione, 48, of Houston, killed by her own two dogs including a pit bull/Cane Corso mix in November 2021 (see Cane Corso: A pit bull by any other name); Drue Parker, 4, killed by four pit bulls at his aunt’s Baytown home in February 2022; Nicolas Vasquez, 51, killed by three pit bulls in Huffman in June 2022 (see Pit bull attack death streak reaches nine in nine days); and a 69-year-old Houston man who has not been publicly identified, killed while defending his poodle from two pit bulls who broke into his yard in February 2023.
In addition, a 43-year-old homeless man who has not been publicly identified was apparently dragged off his bicycle and killed in Channelview in February 2023, in an unwitnessed attack believed to have been by multiple dogs.
No Tasmanian devils involved
The second Rottweiler-inflicted fatality of October 2023 came on October 15 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
No Tasmanian devils, incidentally, have ever killed anyone.
“The incident at Allen’s Rivulet, southwest of Hobart, left a 66-year-old man dead and a 64-year-old woman seriously injured,” said Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter Jano Gibson.
“The man suffered significant injuries to his lower legs and was pronounced dead shortly after authorities arrived,” after receiving a call about an apparent disturbance from a neighbor at about 10:40 p.m.
“The woman also suffered serious injuries to her lower legs and was transported to Royal Hobart Hospital, where she remains in a stable condition,” Gibson added.
Mere mention of Rottweiler involvement brought the RSPCA & a National Rottweiler Council flack to the defense
A member of the Kingsborough county council told media that, “As the dog was not registered with Kingborough Council, staff are unable to confirm the breed of dog involved in the incident,” but added that “the dog appeared to be [a] type of, or similar to, a Rottweiler.”
That immediately brought statements in defense of Rottweilers from Royal SPCA Tasmania chief executive officer Jan Davis and National Rottweiler Council public relations officer Paul York.
Mentioned Gibson, “Rottweiler-type dogs have been involved in at least two other fatal attacks in Australia during the past five years, including the deaths of a five-week-old baby in February 2023, and a one-year-old girl in 2018.”
Sydney Children’s Hospital data
A Sydney Australia Children’s Hospital study, Gibson noted, “found pit bulls (10.3%) were the most likely breed of family dog to cause injuries to children, followed by Labradors (8.5%), Rottweilers (6.8%), bulldogs (6%), and border collies (6%).”
Among the listed breeds, Labradors and border collies appear to be among the most popular dog types in Australia, while the distinction drawn between “pit bulls” and “bulldogs” is unclear, since “bulldog” was historically the most common name used for the dogs now generally identified as pit bulls until the flat-faced “English bulldog” emerged as a show breed in the mid-20th century.
Five times as many fatalities by pits as by Rotts, but there are five times more pit bulls
The 121 deaths by Rottweiler in the U.S. and Canada since 1982 are less than a fifth of the 640 fatalities inflicted by pit bulls over the same time, but the annual ANIMALS 24-7 surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption, done since 2010, show that there are approximately five times as many pit bulls as Rottweilers.
Adjusting for estimated population size, that makes a Rottweiler as likely to kill someone as a pit bull. Both are about 10 times more likely to kill someone as the average large dog breed.