Brian Palmer, 18 months old, died April 24, the day after his family’s pit bull attacked him in his mother’s townhouse. Yesterday, Holden Jernigan, 2 years old, was mauled to death by his grandmother’s pit bull in her back yard. She was babysitting him. Both of these deaths were in Dorchester County, South Carolina. (Click here to read the story.)
This was a male pit bull which was alone in its backyard with the master not present. On my Dog Bite Danger Scale, three of the five factors were present, making the backyard potentially very dangerous for any child who wandered there.
South Carolina is a strict liability state, meaning that dog owners are held civilly liable for all bites by their dogs. This was only the 11th canine homicide in a strict liability state all year. The one-bite states have had 19 deaths in 2007, confirming that people are at greater risk in such states.
I would not call this “scary.” I would call it a crying shame. If you own a pit bull or another powerful dog, you need to review my Dog Bite Danger Scale and avoid the factors that turn a house into a potential killing zone.