Another Child Killed By His Parents’ Dogs – USA Fatality #17 in 2009

On June 27, 2009, two pit bulls and a collie mix killed Gabrial Reese Mandress, 3, of Marion, Illinois. The dogs belonged to his parents, and he was killed in his own back yard.

Interesting that the parents are quoted as saying that the boy — the 3-year-old — pushed through a screen and jumped out a window to get to the dogs. In other words, it was his fault. At least, that’s what I think they were implying. (Read the article.)

Because I handle nothing but dog bite cases, I hear not only the excuses people make, but the actions they take under similar circumstances. I hear about the rare dog owners who physically kill their dogs when the dogs maul other people, the more common who send the dogs to the pound to be put down, and those who admit their fault for owning dogs that were so badly maintained, poorly trained, and unsocialized that they would maul a person.

In this case, we have parents appearing to blame their kid, despite these circumstances scoring 3 on the Dog Attack Danger Scale: (1) dog in its own yard and no master present, (2) one or more pit bulls, and (3) the pack mentality. The presence of any one factor indicates danger. Two or more of these danger signs should be avoided at all costs.

With a score of 3, it was not the fault of the child, but of his parents. And if they do not admit it, they are asking to be taught a lesson by the criminal justice system.