In Feburary 2019, Marjorie Knoller was denied parole for the killing of Diane Whipple in January 2001. Knoller was the woman whose Presa Canario dogs savagely killed Diane Whipple in 2001. A jury in Los Angeles found Knoller guilty of every charge she was indicted for, including second degree murder. Her conviction was upheld, and she was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. I covered the trial in detail on dogbitelaw.com and talked about the case numerous times on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, CBS and NBC.
Knoller’s dogs had never bitten anyone. However, they had lunged, snapped and exhibited clear signs that they possessed a vicious temperament. Additionally, these were Presa Canario dogs — large, cattle-herding dogs that are regarded by many as being dangerous. The prosecutor conducted a “breed specific prosecution” in which he told the jury that Knoller’s crime happened minutes before her dogs attacked Whipple; he said the crime consisted of just taking those dogs outside Knoller’s apartment.
Those of you who own pit bulls and other dogs regarded as being dangerous have to take note of the Diane Whipple case. Even if your dogs have never bitten anyone, but have lunged, snapped and exhibited signs of aggression, you can find yourself facing the wrath of your community if they hurt or kill a person. In my book, there is no reason to risk life in prison when all you really want is a dog.
For more: Ed Walsh, Prosecutors in dog-maul case applaud Knoller parole denial, Bay Area Reporter, February 2019. Also, Kenneth Phillips, The Diane Whipple Case, dogbitelaw.com.