Three Dead Over the Weekend – USA Fatalities #19, 20 and 21

Senior citizens and children are the usual victims of dog attacks. (See Dog Bite Statistics.) That was certainly true this past weekend.

On August 14, 2009, 66-year-old Sherry Schweder and her husband, Lothar Schweder, 76-years-old, were killed by an unknown number of dogs near the couple’s home outside Atlanta, GA. (Read the article.)

On August, 15, 2009, a 3-day-old infant was snatched from his crib and killed by his parents’ pit bull. This happened in Hardy County, W. Virginia, and no names are available at this time. (Click for the article.)

The death of the infant resulted from a 6-month-pregnant woman getting a pit bull from a relative, according to the article linked above. A review of the recent pit bull homicides would have told this family that pit bulls have been known to kill their owners’ kids.

A German Shepherd was present when the baby was taken. According to the Dog Attack Danger Scale, the danger to this child was foreseeable. Three factors on the scale were present:

1. Pit bull, Rottweiler, Akita or Chow. Most fatal dog attacks are by pit bulls. In 2008, 65% of the fatalities were by pit bulls.

2. The pack mentality. Three dogs are worse than 2, 4 are worse than 3, etc. Docile dogs often become uncharacteristically violent and vicious when they are in a pack. In 2008, 39% of the fatalities involved multiple dogs.

3. Newness. A new dog in the house is dangerous for the first 60 days, and a person who is new to a household where a dog resides is in danger of attack for the first 60 days. In 2007 and 2008, 20% of fatal dog attacks involved a new person or dog sharing a household for a period of two months or less.