Newly reported dog attack deaths surface in Florida, Texas, & Louisiana
CHIEFLAND, Florida; LONGVIEW, Texas; JAYWICK, England––Pit bulls and other dogs lost little time in rendering two recent ANIMALS 24-7 headlines obsolete, by rending apart even more victims than were known to have been mauled to death when the articles were posted.
On February 2, 2024, for instance, ANIMALS 24-7 bannered Pit bulls kill four in last two days of January 2024.
WCJB of Gainesville, Florida, the very next morning reported that, “A woman was killed and a man is in the hospital after their dog attacked them in Chiefland this week,” resulting in a fifth January 2024 dog attack death.
“Catahoula leopard dogs” or Catahoula/pit mixes?
“Levy County Sheriff’s deputies tell TV20,” the WCJB report continued, “that the couple had bred Catahoula leopard dogs for more than 25 years when one turned on them on the night of January 29, 2024.”
The victims were later identified as Leonora Lawhon Hale, 72, the deceased, and her husband Jim Hale, 73, who were Catahoula show dog breeders, but apparently did not breed Catahoulas exclusively.
While a Catahoula is not a pit bull, photos the Hales posted to social media show apparent Catahoula crosses with larger breeds.
Man killed, dog owner busted, in Longview, Texas
A sixth dog attack fatality, also as yet officially unidentified, may have been killed before January 2024 ended, but was not discovered until the early hours of February.
In Longview, Texas, reported Jordan Green of the Longview News Journal, “Police responded about 3 a.m. to a call about a bicycle in the road. Nearby, officers found the body of a 46-year-old man with wounds consistent with those of a dog bite.”
Later in the day, Green continued, “Animal control officers confiscated multiple dogs from a home in the area, police said,” and “arrested Martin Gilbert Rodriguez, 56, on 28 charges of ‘animal at large,’” plus “charges of failing to have an animal vaccinated and one charge of illegally keeping an animal in a parked or standing vehicle.”
The “46-year-old” victim was later identified by Gregg County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant Josh Tubb as Jay Simms, 67, of Winona, Texas, 33 miles west.
A dog believed to have inflicted injuries to Simms’ body “is a pit bull or a pit bull mix,” Tubb told KLTV, of Tyler, Texas, but the cause of death was ascribed to “a previous health condition.”
This typically indicates that a victim suffered a fatal heart attack or stroke under the stress of a dog attack.
17-month-old was dog attack victim in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana
Earlier, ANIMALS 24-7 delayed publishing a “final” total of U.S. dog attack deaths in 2023 until January 13, 2024, to try to avoid missing any.
But the Maples Center for Forensic Testing at the University of Florida in Gainesville did not notify the sheriff’s office in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, until January 22, 2024 that DNA testing had established that a domestic dog, and not any other animal, such as coyote, bobcat, or feral pig, was responsible for the death of De’Angelo Manning.
“The 17-month-old was found dead on September 18, 2023 in a rural area of Claiborne Parish hours after he and a 4-year-old child were reported missing,” recounted KTBS-TV of Shreveport, Louisiana. “The oldest child was found about a half-mile from the home where he was staying. He had minor scratches.”
De’Angelo Manning has now been added to the roster posted with Record 72 dog attack deaths in 2023 included also record 57 by pit bull, and the article has been updated.
American Bully XL ban fails to save grandmother from breeder
ANIMALS 24-7 did get one headline right, though: American Bully XL pit bull attacks continue as U.K. & Scotland bans loom, posted on January 27, 2024.
Since December 31, 2023, owners of American Bully XL pit bulls have been required to have them microchipped, sterilized, and muzzled and kept on a lead in public.
ANIMALS 24-7 warned, however, that more than 30,000 American Bully XL owners in England and Wales have reportedly obtained permits to continue to keep them––which ensures that at least 30,000 supersized and nominally banned pit bulls will continue to have the opportunity to wreak havoc.
The American Bully XL ban in England and Wales took full effect, after a month-long grace period, on February 1, 2024.
Esther Martin, 69, of Woodford Green, London, on February 3, 2024 became the first post-ban human fatality inflicted by American Bully XL pit bulls, while visiting her 11-year-old grandson in Jaywick, a depressed former seaside resort near Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.
“My mum had raised concerns”
Esther Martin’s daughter Sonia Martin, 47, told The Daily Mail and BBC News that “My mum had raised concerns to the owner,” Ashley Warren, 39, who in a television interview denied knowing American Bully XL pit bulls are dangerous, “about them being dangerous and quite aggressive.”
Warren, partner of victim Esther Martin’s late daughter, Clare Louise Hayes, who reportedly died in 2022, was identified by The Daily Mail as “a tattooed East London wannabe rapper who goes by the name Wyless Man.”
Warren “posted a Facebook ad selling XL Bully puppies for £500 in November 2023,” The Daily Mail said.
Said Sonia Martin, “They were XL Bullies. There were eight of them in the house, six puppies and two adults. None of them neutered, not registered. The owner’s words were ‘no one is going to tell me what to do with my own f*****g dogs.’”
“Put a broom in among them”
Sonia Martin said she believed the puppies had been fighting, and that her mother had been told by the Ashley Warren earlier to “put a broom in among them, to distract them.”
Said Sonia Martin, “That’s when she was attacked.”
Ashley Martin in his television interview tearfully confirmed the details.
The 11-year-old grandson of victim Esther Martin ran out of the house screaming, bringing spade-wielding neighbors to attempt a rescue.
Police then reportedly shot at least the two adult XL Bullies at the scene.
Warren was arrested on suspicion of violating the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, as amended to add the American Bully XL ban, He was released on conditional police bail until a March 5, 2024 inquest.
“Following a concerning rise in attacks and fatalities caused by XL Bully dogs,” the United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs announced on October 31, 2023, “the government has added this breed to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.”
The “XL Bully” pit bull variant, responsible for at least eight deaths in the United Kingdom in 2022 and 2023, plus at least 60 disfiguring injuries to humans, joined four other pit bull variants on the banned list.
The others are the American Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasiliero. All are considered “foreign breeds” in the United Kingdom.
“Scotland has announced it will attempt to put a similar ban in place by July 31, 2024, while Northern Ireland is also set to make a decision on the breed shortly,” BBC News reported.
“Staffordshires” still have free pass to kill
Apart from the continued risk posed by every American Bully XL granted an exemption from the bans, there remains the possibility that every American Bully XL in either nation might magically metamorphize into a “Staffordshire terrier.”
This is how pit bulls persisted in the United Kingdom after the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 nominally banned pit bulls, but exempted Staffordshire terriers, along with pit bulls under any other name but American Pit Bull Terrier.
While pit bulls and dogfighting have persisted in the United Kingdom at least since Elizabethan times, the “Staffordshire” breed name originated with American Pit Bull Terrier fighting dog breeder John P. Colby, of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Colby produced his first fighting dog litter in 1888, dubbed them “Staffordshire terriers,” and almost immediately began selling some of his dogs to British dogfighters.
NewspaperArchive.com, including British media since 1607, shows no use of the term “Staffordshire” to describe a dog breed before Colby.
Altogether, 87 dogs are now known to have participated in killing a person despite the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, including 13 of the now technically prohibited American Bully XL pit bull variant and 20 so-called “Staffordshire terriers.”