2009 dog bite fatalities ::

Information gathered by DogsBite.org is verifiable1 through Internet archive services. Our Fatality Citations section documents each source used in our dog bite-related fatality research.

2009 statistics2

  • 32 U.S. fatal dog attacks occurred in 2009. Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 600 U.S. cities, pit bulls led these attacks accounting for 44% (14). Pit bulls make up approximately 5% of the U.S. dog population.3
  • In 2009, the combination of pit bulls (14) and rottweilers (4) accounted for 56% of all fatal attacks. In the 5-year period from 2005 to 2009, this same combination accounted for 70% (105) of the total recorded deaths (149).
  • The combined breakdown between the two breeds is substantial. From 2005 to 2009, pit bulls killed 84 Americans, about one citizen every 22 days, versus rottweilers, which killed 21 Americans, about one citizen every 87 days.
  • 2009 data shows that 63% (20) of the attacks occurred to children (11 years and under) and 38% occurred to adults. Of the children, 60% (12) occurred to ages 2 and younger. In all attacks, males were more often victims, 59%, than females.
  • 2009 data also shows that 38% (12) of all fatal attacks involved multiple dogs, and 19% (6) involved chained dogs. 75% (24) of these deadly attacks occurred on the dog owner's property and 25% (8) occurred off the owner's property.
  • The state of Texas led fatalities in 2009 (5) followed by Georgia and Illinois (each with 4) and California and Virginia (each with 3). Of the Texas deaths, the combination of pit bulls and rottweilers (4) accounted for 80%.
2009 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities
2009 fatal dog attacks by breed
2009 dog bite fatality chart

In 2009, one fatality involved dogs from two different breeds, thus producing a "death credit" total of 33, rather than 32. Eight dog breeds each contributed to one death: american bulldog, blue heeler-mix, chow-mix, great dane, italian mastiff, malamute, collie-mix and weimaraner.

2009 victims

Cheyenne Peppers

5-years old | Thomasville, GA

Cheyenne Peppers, 5-years old, may have been playing on a trampoline when she was killed by her family's 3 pit bulls. Within the confines of a fence marked by a "Beware of Dog," sign, the three dogs attacked and killed the little girl. Animal control says one of the pit bulls was loose in the yard, and the other two were chained. It is believed that the loose female pit bull (reportedly pregnant) started the attack. The other two pit bulls broke free of their chains and joined in on the attack. The incident occurred at the home of her mother and stepfather. Her father, David Peppers, is now working to pass a pit bull law in Thomasville. [source citations]

Date of death: January 6, 2009 Chained: Mixed
Breed of dog: Pit bull (3) Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Mixed Owner of dog: Parents
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No

Alex Angulo

4-years old | Chicago, IL

Alex Angulo, 4-years old, was mauled to death by his foster family's rottweiler. Alex had been placed into the home by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) about a year prior to the fatal attack. The DCFS was aware the child was placed into a home with "Dangerous Dog" signs on its fences. To add more tragedy to Alex's death, the boy was scheduled to be moved to a permanent home for the purposes of adoption the same week he was killed. Illinois legislators are currently considering legislation that prevents children from being placed into an environment with dangerous dogs. [source citations]

Date of death: January 11, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Rottweiler Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Foster parents
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Unknown
Fatal dog attack, Brooklynn Grace Milburn

Brooklynn Grace Milburn

3-years old | Fort Worth, TX

Brooklynn Milburn, 3-years old, was killed by her neighbor's 17-year old rottweiler. At the time of the attack, she and her 5-year old brother were in the care of her grandfather who was cooking. Brooklynn reportedly slipped out the back door, moved a heavy table that covered a small hole in the fence separating two yards and crawled through it. She was then killed by the neighbor's dog. No charges were brought in this tragedy because no charges could be. While the circumstances of this tragedy seem questionable, they do show the difficulty of assessing blame in a fatal dog attack. Please view the family's memorial website. [source citations]

Date of death: January 15, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Rottweiler Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Neighbor
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
Fatal dog attack, Olivia Rozek

Olivia Rozek

3-weeks old | Bourbonnais, IL

Olivia Rozek, 3-weeks old, was killed by the family's Siberian husky after the dog pulled the child from a bed and dragged her into a hallway. The child suffered multiple bite injuries to the head. She died later that day after being airlifted from a Kankakee hospital to Loyola University Medical Center. At the time of the attack, the mother was reportedly making dinner. Olivia was one of two twins born the day after Christmas. The family got the 4-year-old male dog from a Chicago rescue group in November 2007. The family also owned a female husky. Please view the family's memorial website. [source citations]

Date of death: January 19, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Husky Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Parents
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
Fatal dog attack, Brianna Shanor

Brianna Shanor

8-years old | Hanover Township, PA

Brianna Shanor, 8-years old, was killed by her guardian's chained rottweiler-mix. Prior to the attack, she was outside with her guardian William John Renda, who was feeding chickens. She told Renda that she was cold and wanted to go inside. But between where she stood and the entrance of his home, something happened. There were no witnesses to the attack and at that time it was dark outside. Brianna was found dead inside of a small trailer that Renda had converted into a doghouse. It is unknown if she mistakenly fell within the radius of the chained dog, which then attacked her and dragged her into the doghouse, or if she entered the doghouse on her own and was then killed by the dog. [source citations]

Date of death: January 19, 2009 Chained: Yes
Breed of dog: Rottweiler-mix Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Guardian parents
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No

Jane Doe

2-weeks old | Mesa, AZ

Jane Doe, 2-weeks old, was attacked and killed by the family's chow-mix dog. According to police, the mother, Myrna Ramirez, who is a police officer with the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, stepped away from the baby to use the bathroom. She left the baby in a low-lying bassinet. When she returned, she discovered the dog, (described as a chow-golden retriever mix) had severely bitten the child. When Mesa paramedics arrived, she was unresponsive. She was pronounced dead on the scene. The baby's father, Marcus Rudolph, who is a Mesa police officer, was on duty at the time of the attack. Shortly after the infant's death, both police departments joined forces and raised funds for the family in a "Tip-a-Cop" event. [source citations]

Date of death: March 4, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Chow-mix Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Parents
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
Fatal dog attack, Hill Andrew Williams

Hill Andrew Williams

38-years old | Rancho Mirage, CA

Hill Andrew Williams, 38-years old, was mauled to death by his two dogs initially described as "some sort of bull mastiff-mix." It is later learned that his fiancée, Anna Tucker, owned the dogs, which were actually Italian mastiffs. One dog was a 90-pound female named Ebony and the other was a 115-pound male named Butter. An autopsy confirmed that the two dogs were responsible for killing Williams. Riverside County Sheriff's officials said Williams died of "significant physical trauma" he suffered in the attack. Officials believe the female was "in heat" at the time of the attack and that Williams might have been breeding the dogs. Ten days after Williams' death, Tucker contested the cause of death. She believes Williams died due to heart problems and that the dogs had only been "trying to help him." [source citations]

Date of death: March 16, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Italian mastiff (2) Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Mixed Owner of dog: Fiancée
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
Fatal dog attack, Dustin Faulkner

Dustin Elijah Faulkner

3-years old | Jesup, GA

Dustin Faulkner, 3-years old, was killed by a neighbor's husky (or husky-mix) that he had reportedly played with on previous occasions. According to Detective Bruce Williams of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Eli was walking with another child between a group of homes when Eli got a sand spur in his foot. He cried out and his friend tried to remove it when the husky, named Tasha, broke free from her collar -- which had been attached to a chain -- and attacked. The dog's owner, Aaron Ralph, pulled the dog off the child and shot the animal dead. Authorities do not believe criminal charges will be filed. It was noted, however, that Eli's mother, Lillyann Robinson, had allegedly been reported to Children Services on more than one occasion. [source citations]

Date of death: March 22, 2009 Chained: Yes
Breed of dog: Husky Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Female Owner of dog: Neighbor
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Unknown
Fatal dog attack, Tyson Miller

Tyson Miller

2-years old | Luling, TX

Tyson Miller, 2-years old, was mauled to death by a pit bull that his mother, Melissa Miller, and boyfriend had agreed to "look after" for a friend. The two of them and Miller's children had been residing at a home for about two weeks -- the same amount of time they had been caring for the dog. The female pregnant pit bull had been tethered outside the mobile home to an 18-foot chain. On the morning of the fatal attack, Tyson awoke prior to Miller and her boyfriend. The toddler apparently wandered outside, where he interacted with the pit bull and was killed by it. The Caldwell County District Attorney later charged Miller with two felonies. She later pleaded no contest to criminally negligent homicide and was ordered to serve two years in jail. [source citations]

Date of death: March 26, 2009 Chained: Yes
Breed of dog: Pit bull Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Female Owner of dog: Friend
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Yes
Fatal dog attack, Izaiah Gregory Cox

Izaiah Gregory Cox

7-months old | San Antonio, TX

Izaiah Gregory Cox, 7-months old, was killed by his great-grandmother's two pit bulls. 58-year old Irma Barrera had turned away to "warm a bottle" for the boy when the pit bulls broke down a baby-gate and attacked him. It was reported that Barrera grabbed a knife and fought the dogs off long enough to place Izaiah into a crib. Upon arriving, police officers shot and killed both dogs. When EMS crews reached the home, they had to climb through a side window to help the child, who later died at University Hospital. Barrera was also injured in the attack and taken to the same hospital. Neighbors said the dogs had been aggressive in the past; one had even bitten an 8-year old girl in the face. Barrera had a sign hanging from her fence that warned visitors: "Warning: Security Dog." [source citations]

Date of death: March 31, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull (2) Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Mixed Owner of dog: Great Grandmother
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Yes
Michael Blaise Landry

Michael Blaise Landry

4-years old | Morganza, LA

Michael Blaise Landry, 4-years old, was fatally attacked by three boxers after his next-door neighbor, off-duty Pointe Coupee Parish sheriff’s deputy Rob Roy, let the dogs out of their cages. It was reported that Roy (a member of the K-9 unit) was cleaning the kennels at the time. A chain-link fence ran between the two homes, but not behind either, and barbed-wire fencing ran behind the kennel. The dogs "slipped through" the barbed-wire fence and attacked the boy while he played in his own yard. Michael, known as Blaise, died after being airlifted to Pointe Coupee General Hospital. A grand jury did not indict the dog owners. Several months later, and on behalf of Blaise and Luna McDaniel, the Louisiana legislature passed HB155, which permits negligent homicide charges in the instance of a fatal attack. Please view the family's memorial website. [source citations]

Date of death: April 10, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Boxer (3) Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Mixed Owner of dog: Neighbor
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: Off Criminal charges: No

Gordon Lykins

48-years old | Winterhaven, CA

Gordon Lykins, 48-years old, was attacked by a pack of 11 loose dogs on March 28. He was found in a ditch that lies between Imperial County and the Quechan Indian reservation, from where the dogs are believe to have come. Lykins suffered catastrophic injuries in the attack. After arriving at the Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Pheonix, Lykins underwent the amputation of both legs and an arm. Nearly 2 weeks later, Lykins succumbed to his injuries. County authorities euthanized 11 adult dogs and nine puppies belonging to Larry Stubel after the attack. Yet citing insufficient evidence (Stubel allegedly washed the blood from his dogs before officials could seize the animals) and a lack of witnesses, Imperial County Assistant District Attorney Joe Beard said in October that no charges would be filed. [source citations]

Date of death: April 10, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Unknown (11) Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Mixed Owner of dog: Undetermined
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: Off Criminal charges: No

David B. Whitenack Jr.

41-years old | Dwight Township, MI

David Whitenack Jr., a 41-year old veteran, was found dead by two friends who went looking for him after he had not been seen in a few days. Douglas Ignash and Randy Franzel went to the property owned by Frank Levine in search of Whitenack. While on the property, they encountered three vicious dogs. When the two found Whitenack in his small camper, he was shirtless, partially wrapped in a blanket and dead. The owner of the dogs died two days after Whitenack was found. Prior to Levine's death, he had been sent to a nursing home, leaving in question who had been caring for the dogs when they killed Whitenack. The Thumb County Animal Shelter said that someone from Levine's family called the shelter just days before the attack and asked them to pick up the vicious dogs. The shelter told the caller to contact the sheriff's office. [source citations]

Date of death: April 13, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Blue heeler-Australian shepherd mix (3) Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Friend
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
Fatal dog attack, Leonary Lovejoy Jr.

Leonard Lovejoy Jr.

11-months old | Eastpointe, MI

Leonard Lovejoy Jr., 11-months old, was killed by his family's pit bull as he stood on the bed. The boy's father used a .45 caliber handgun to kill the dog -- he reportedly shot 8 bullets at the dog. The dog was 5-years old and had been raised by the victim's father since it was a puppy. In a press conference following the attack, the victim's uncle, Terrence Lovejoy, urged parents to "get rid" of pit bulls. He also stated that the dog "didn’t growl, didn’t bark," just walked over and grabbed the child. He described the incident as "a sneak attack on my nephew." Little Leonard was known as a "miracle child." The couple had been told they could not have children. The family also had a "Beware of Dog" sign on their fence. [source citations]

Date of death: April 22, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Parents
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No

Barbara Chambers

59-years old | Garland, TX

Barbara Chambers, 59-years old, was attacked by her prize-winning Great Dane in her yard. According to Garland police spokesman Joe Harn, Chambers was in her backyard on April 11 with her two show dogs -- her Great Dane, "Lemonade," and a poodle -- when Lemonade lunged and attacked her. Chambers was taken to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and listed in critical condition. A neighbor who witnessed the attack said there was no apparent reason for the dog's sudden rage. Diana Oats of Garland Animal Control said that it was "unusual," especially for a show dog, to be aggressive. On May 14, The Dallas Morning News published Chambers' obituary indicating that she died May 11, presumably unable to recover from the serious injuries inflicted by her dog. [source citations]

Date of death: May 11, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Great dane Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Victim
Spay/Neuter: Unkown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
Fatal dog attack, Justin Clinton

Justin Clinton

10-years old | Leverett's Chapel, TX

Justin Clinton, 10-years old, was killed by two pit bull-mix dogs after he walked to a friend's home where the dogs lived. Lt. Hilton of the Rusk County Sheriff 's Office said witnesses reported the dogs dragged the child along the side of the road, but he was not sure if the attack began on or off the owner's property. Christy and Ricky George had been caring for the dogs since February. The dogs had formerly lived with a person in Kilgore. Prior to the attack, Justin had been acquainted with the dogs and had visited the George's home to play with their children. After the boy's death, his mother and Cynthia Kent, a Tyler attorney, and supporters called for the banning of pit bulls. The group hopes to outlaw the ownership of pit bulls in Texas under a law known as "Justin's Law." [source citations]

Date of death: June 15, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull-mix (2) Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Mixed Owner of dog: Friend
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
Fatal dog attack, Gabrial Mandrell-Sauerhage

Gabrial Mandrell-Sauerhage

3-years old | Johnson City, IL

Gabrial Mandrell-Sauerage, 3-years old, was killed by his family's two pit bull-mixes after he reportedly "pushed out the screen" in his bedroom and "crawled out the window." The two loose dogs and possibly the family's third, a collie-mix, subsequently attacked him. His near lifeless body was found about 200 feet away the home. Williamson County officials said that Gabrial suffered at least one bite that would have made "yelling impossible," and that "numerous box fans running at the same time of the incident would have made it very hard for the adults in the house to hear anything outside." Both statements eliminated potential child neglect charges and Gabrial's death was ruled as "accidental." [source citations]

Date of death: June 27, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull-mix (2)
Collie-mix (1)
Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Parents
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
Fatal dog attack, Kathleen Jeanette Doyle

Kathleen Jeanette Doyle

90-years old | Phoenix, AZ

Kathleen Jeanette Doyle, 90-years old, died July 26 after complications from a dog bite, according to police. On July 20, a neighborhood American bulldog bit her leg as she was walking home from her friend's house near 41st and Medlock drives, north of Camelback Road. According to the dog's owners, it got out of their backyard because "windy weather blew down their fence." Gerald Doyle, Kathleen's son, said the dog bite injury required surgery, and his mother's health declined shortly thereafter. The victim also suffered from cardio pulmonary disease, but the Phoenix Police Department opened a homicide investigation as a result of the dog bite. Prior to the July 20 bite incident, the same dog had bitten earlier that month. In fact, the dog had been out of quarantine for less than 10 days before biting again, the second occurrence resulting in Kathleen's death. [source citations]

Date of death: July 26, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: American bulldog Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Neighbor
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: Off Criminal charges: Pending
Fatal dog attack, Carter Delaney

Carter Patrick Ridge Delaney

20-years old | Leesburg, VA

Carter Delaney, 20-years old, was mauled to death by his brother's two pit bulls. Police were called to the scene after a relative grew concerned about not being able to contact him. Police found Carter in the basement next to a pug-mix dog. Both had been dead for several hours. It is believed that the two pit bulls attacked the small dog and Carter intervened. The medical examiner concluded that Carter was killed by two puncture wounds to his neck that hit arteries and disrupted the flow of oxygen and blood to his brain. Five dogs were seized from the home including a cocker spaniel, which had been safely crated, and a pit bull puppy that had been contained in an upstairs room. Both dogs were released back to the family. The two offending pit bulls were euthanized. [source citations]

Date of death: August 10, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull (2) Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Brother
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No

Sherry Schweder

65-years old | Oglethorpe County, GA

Sherry Schweder, 65-years old, and her husband Lothar were attacked and killed by up to 16 mongrel dogs. Both bodies were found mutilated a few hundred yards from the Schweder home. Authorities believe that Sherry had gone out on a walk that evening. Her husband, worried when she did not return, took the couple's car and drove down the road looking for her. The dogs attacked Lothar when he found her and got out of his car. Both bodies were found lying next to the car the following day. The dogs were traced to the home of Howard Thaxton, who had been feeding them, but had recently moved away due to medical problems. Thaxton still visited the property every other day to feed the dogs and told authorities he did not believe they were responsible for the attacks. Authorities did not bring charges against Thaxton. [source citations]

Date of death: August 14, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Mongrel (16) Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Mixed Owner of dog: None
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: Off Criminal charges: No

Lothar Schweder

77-years old | Oglethorpe County, GA

Lothar Schweder, 77-years old, and his wife Sherry, were attacked and killed by up to 16 mongrel dogs. Both bodies were found mutilated a few hundred yards from the Schweder home. Authorities believe that Sherry had gone out on a walk that evening. Her husband, worried when she did not return, took the couple's car and drove down the road looking for her. The dogs attacked Lothar when he found her and got out of his car. Both bodies were found lying next to the car the following day. The dogs were traced to the home of Howard Thaxton, who had been feeding them, but had recently moved away due to medical problems. Thaxton still visited the property every other day to feed the dogs and told authorities he did not believe they were responsible for the attacks. Authorities did not bring charges against Thaxton. [source citations]

Date of death: August 14, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Mongrel (16) Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Mixed Owner of dog: None
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: Off Criminal charges: No

John Doe

3-days old | Rio, WV

John Doe, 3-days old, was snatched from his crib by the family pit bull while in the presence of his mother just hours after being brought home from the hospital. The reported 1-year old pit bull named Nila latched onto the infant's head and shook it, causing life-threatening injury. The mother told police she choked the dog, but it still wouldn't let got of her son. The mother's 17-year old daughter then came into the room and corned Nila along with a German shepherd-mix and forced both dogs out an open window. The infant died on the way to a helicopter-landing zone set up at a nearby church. Both dogs were subsequently euthanized. Nila was reportedly purchased in May from a family relative in Maryland. The case is still under investigation. [source citations]

Date of death: August 15, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Female Owner of dog: Mother
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Pending

Jasmine Deane

23-months old | Orange County, VA

Jasmine Deane, 23-months old, was mauled to death by her family's pet pit bull after wandering away from the home and interacting with the chained dog. The attack occurred in the Mountain Track Road area of Orange County. Sheriff Mark Amos said the pit bull hadn't caused problems previously and had lived with the family for about 10 years. Investigators say the mother became distracted for a few minutes. In this time, the child slipped out the door. According to Amos, Jasmine's parents, John Deane and Kristie Fincham formerly of Culpeper County, had recently moved to Orange County. Initially, the investigation into Jasmine's death was stalled because the child's family was uncooperative with authorities. On October 22, nearly one month after the incident, it was reported that the Deane family had made an appointment to talk to child protective services. [source citations]

Date of death: September 27, 2009 Chained: Yes
Breed of dog: Pit Bull Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Unkown Owner of dog: Parents
Spay/Neuter: Unkown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Pending
Fatal dog attack, Colten Smith

Colten Smith

19-months old | Delhi, CA

Colten Smith, 19-months old, was killed by a pit bull-mix at the home of his babysitter. Authorities say the toddler wandered into the backyard while his babysitter was in another room. Upon discovering the attack, the babysitter was able to stop the attack by stabbing the 65-pound dog with a two-prong barbeque fork. She tried to drive the blood soaked toddler to the hospital, but was pulled over for driving erratically. Colten was quickly taken to a nearby hospital and airlifted to Children's Hospital in Madera where he was pronounced dead. The dog reportedly belonged to the sitter's future in-laws, Gustavo Garcia and Martha Carrera, who were in the process of moving and had left the dog at the sitter's home for about a week. News videos, however, showed a "Warning Security Dog" sign with rusted screws attached to the fence of the babysitter's home. [source citations]

Date of death: October 23, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull-mix Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Future in-laws
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
Fatal dog attack, Matthew Clayton Hurt

Matthew Clayton Hurt

2-years old | Prescott, AR

Matthew Clayton "Booter" Hurt, 2-years old, was savagely killed by a pit bull after chasing a puppy (which may have been related to the pit bull) into the backyard where the male dog was chained. Neighbor Bridgette Monroe, who witnessed the aftermath of the attack, described the scene, "The babies' jugular, throat was bitten and from his mouth up to his eye was bitten." Police Chief Russell said police and emergency crews arrived within minutes and Matthew was airlifted to St. Michael's where he was pronounced dead. At the time of the attack, Matthew, his two siblings and his mother were staying with family friends, Kevin Taylor and Christy Godwin, who lived two doors down from the chained pit bull. Authorities seized two adult pit bulls from the dog owner's property. Nineteen days after the incident, in an emergency meeting, the City of Prescott adopted a pit bull ban. [source citations]

Date of death: October 28, 2009 Chained: Yes
Breed of dog: Pit bull Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Neighbor
Spay/Neuter: Unkown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Unkown

Destiny Marie Knox

16-months old | Union County, MS

Destiny Marie Knox, 16-months old, was mauled to death by a pit bull while under the care of her babysitter, marking the second U.S. pit bull fatality involving a babysitter in less than two weeks. At the time of the incident, the babysitter Tonya Graham and Destiny were at Graham's boyfriend's residence, the home of Jerry Westmoreland and the owner of five pit bulls. According to news reports, family members were "bringing groceries into the home" when the attack occurred. The normally chained pit bull, named Foolish, slipped its collar and followed family members into the home. Upon seeing the toddler, the pit bull immediately attacked and killed the child. Arriving officers shot and killed the dangerous pit bull. Westmoreland, who has a "pit bull memorial" painted on his vehicle, surprisingly surrendered all of his pit bulls to the Oxford Humane Society after the incident. [source citations]

Date of death: November 5, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit Bull Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Unkown Owner of dog: Babysitter's boyfriend
Spay/Neuter: Unkown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Pending
Fatal dog attack, Karen Gillespie

Karen Gillespie

53-years old | White Mills, KY

Karen Gillespie, 53-years old, was found dead on the morning of November 25. Her husband, Stephen Gillespie, had reported her disappearance about 7 pm the previous night. Over that night, the Gillespie home became the "command center" for search and rescue teams. Karen had left that day to photograph an old one-room schoolhouse located near her home. After determining that she died of head injuries caused by a dog attack, authorities seized a dog owned by Howard Miller, who lives on a property adjacent to where her body was found. The dog, described as a white boxer-mix, had previously bitten a U.S. Census worker and a firefighter involved in the search for Gillespie. One month earlier, Stephen and Karen had celebrated 30 years of marriage. In May 2010, a grand jury declined to indict Howard Miller and his wife Linda Miller on felony charges in connection to her death. Authorities subsequently charged the couple with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail. [source citations]

Date of death: November 24, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Boxer-mix Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Neighbor
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: Off Criminal charges: Yes
Fatal dog attack, Rosie Humphreys

Rosie Humphreys

85-years old | Flora, IL

Rosie Humphreys, 85-years old, and her poodle were struck down in a violent attack by a neighbor's loose pit bull. At the time of the incident, Rosie and her two dogs had just left her residence for a walk. She was fatally attacked upon reaching the end of her driveway. Witnesses said the pit bull first attacked one of her poodles. When Rosie picked up her small dog to protect it, the pit bull attacked her. The offending dog, owned by Brian Pennington, was a 3-year old unaltered male pit bull. According to Chief John Nicholson, the dog was a family pet with no prior history of aggression or mistreatment. Nicholson said the dog had gotten loose because the metal "D" ring on the dog's collar failed, whereby eliminating culpability of the dog owner. Two weeks after the incident, Rosie's son, Bob Koehler, erected a sign in his front yard that read: "Ban Pit Bulls." [source citations]

Date of death: November 30, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Neighbor
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: Off Criminal charges: No
Fatal dog attack, Lowell Boden

Lowell Edison Bowden

70-years old | Lindside, WV

Lowell Bowden, 70-years old, was out for an afternoon walk on November 27 when at least four loose pit bulls attacked him inflicting critical, life-threatening injuries. On December 4, Bowden succumbed to these injuries, which his family described as, "maimed beyond recognition, with no facial features remaining and other horrific disfigurement." Following his death, the family began urging state and local lawmakers to regulate pit bulls as well as to impose felony punishment on dog owners if their dog seriously injures or kills a human being while improperly restrained. In a statement issued to the media, the Bowden family wrote: "No more one free bite, one free mauling and no more one free homicide!" Four people were initially charged with misdemeanor offenses in connection to the attack: Justin Ray Blankenship, 18, his mother Kimberly Blankenship, 51, Mose Christian, 19, and Anna Hughes, 32. Involuntary manslaughter charges (1 per person) were added following Bowden's death. [source citations]

Date of death: December 4, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull (4) Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Mixed Owner of dog: Neighbor
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: Off Criminal charges: Yes
Fatal dog attack, Dallas Walters

Dallas Lee Walters

20-months old | New Port Richey, FL

Dallas Walters, 20-months old, was mauled to death by a rottweiler-mix while attending a Birthday party at his great-aunt's home. Shortly before he died, the young boy raised his arm and made a fist. His father, Andrew Walters, said, "He was trying his hardest, and he was just being Dallas." At the time of the incident, his mother Jessica Stafford was feeding Dallas potato salad. She said, he would take a bite, walk away and return for another bite. Unexpectedly, the dog lunged from behind a sofa and latched onto the boy's head. Relatives said the 100-pound dog named Willie had been chained up outside, but somehow got loose and went into the house. The dog's owners, Lisa and Preston Evans, had gotten Willie and a 3-month old offspring just two months earlier. Authorities said they were looking into the previous owners of the dogs, but also said the incident appeared to be a "tragic accident." [source citations]

Date of death: December 12, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Rottweiler-mix Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Great-aunt
Spay/Neuter: No Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
Fatal dog attack, Theresa Ellerman

Theresa Ann Ellerman

49-years old | Norfolk, VA

Theresa Ellerman, 49-years old, was bitten by an Alaskan malamute while visiting a friend's home and died. Norfolk Police and Norfolk Fire Rescue responded to an address at Tabor Court at about 2:30 am in response to a reported dog bite. Officers said they found the victim experiencing difficulty in breathing. She was transported to DePaul hospital where she was pronounced dead at approximately 3:45 am. Authorities would not release how many times she was bitten or the extent of her injuries, but investigators did say "she was not mauled." The Norfolk Medical Examiner's office later confirmed that Ellerman died due to a dog bite to her neck. Authorities ruled the death as accidental. Police would not identify the owner of the dog, nor was it learned if the dog was returned to its owners. Ellerman served over 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. At the time of her death, she was engaged to be married. [source citations]

Date of death: December 12, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Malamute Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Friend
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
Fatal dog attack, Liam Peck

Liam Peck

2-years old | Cape Coral, FL

Liam Peck, 2-years old, was fatally bitten by the family's 8-year old male weimaraner. The incident occurred on December 22, just days before Christmas. Connie Barron, spokeswoman for the Cape Coral Police Department, said EMS transported the boy to Cape Coral Hospital, where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later. Lee County Animal Services seized the dog from the home, along with a female weimaraner. No one knows what prompted the dog to bite, except that the child "walked by the dog." According to the report, Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to December 22, 2009, compiled by Merritt Clifton of Animal People, weimaraners have only been involved in two serious incidents in the past 27 years, the attack involving Liam being the second. Liam's parents, Joseph and Carrie Peck, opted to put the dog down after the attack. Henry Posey, the Peck's brother-in-law, said the outpouring of sympathy from the community touched the family. [source citations]

Date of death: December 22, 2009 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Weimaraner Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Parents
Spay/Neuter: Unkown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No

Additional victims

Deaths involving non-dog bite injury, minor dog bite injury or cases that lacked a "reasonably clear" determination of death due to dog bite injury are not included in DogsBite.org statistical fatality data. Victims falling into the latter category may be added at a future time.
  1. DogsBite.org contains verifiable information about U.S. citizens killed by dogs including the name and age of each victim, location of attack, dog breed and up to 18 other factors. Information was gathered through media reports that were available at the time of the attack or found through Internet newspaper archives. Each fatality also lists "source citations," which links to its related citations.
  2. Portions of the combined data (from 2005 to 2009) was updated February 18, 2012 to include revised 2006 data.
  3. Decade of Adoption Focus Fails to Reduce Shelter Killing, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, July/August 2009.
  4. On October 13, it was reported that Timothy Niemeyer's "brain function has ceased" and he was surviving only with a respirator.