List of fatal dog attacks in the United States

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Fatal dog attacks in the United States cause the deaths of about 30 to 50 people in the US each year,[1] and the number of deaths from dog attacks appears to be increasing.[2] Around 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, resulting in the hospitalization of 6,000 to 13,000 people each year in the United States (2005).[2] The breeds of dog responsible for the most bites per year, according to the American Animal Hospital Association, are, in order: pit bull-type dogs, mixed breeds, and German Shepherds.[3]

Injuries, illnesses, and fatalities resulting from encounters with dogs are a major public health concern worldwide. Dogs not only cause morbidity and mortality as a result of bites, but they may also transmit zoonotic infections, which may also result in illness or death. Dogs are the main source of rabies transmission to humans worldwide. It is estimated that 3% to 18% of dog bite wounds become infected, with occasional cases of meningitis, endocarditis, and septic shock leading to death reported. Children have the greatest risk of death.[2]

Below are lists of fatal dog attacks in the United States reported by the news media, published in scholarly papers, or mentioned through other sources. In the lists below, the breed is assigned by the sources.

Fatalities prior to year 2020[edit]

Fatalities in 2020[edit]

Date Location Victim's name Victim's age Category of dog Circumstances
January 8 Taos Pueblo, New Mexico Kay Torres 52 years pack of dogs Torres was found near an intersection on Tribal Lands, being attacked by a pack of dogs. The caller stated she fended off the dogs with a broom. The FBI reported that an autopsy performed on Torres concluded that he died from an "apparent dog attack" and not, as was rumored on social media, a homicide.[4] Taos Pueblo is an Indian Reservation, with a large population of dogs owned by residents and permitted to roam freely, according to Torres' sister. [5]
January 9 Dayton, Ohio McKenzie Terwell 4 months pit bull Around midnight, the father of the infant called 911 after he returned to the home and found his daughter on the floor, unresponsive. The Commander of the Violent Crime Bureau stated that the child had been attacked by the family dog and died from her injuries. The coroner ruled the death an accident and stated the child died from blood loss. Dayton police said the dog was a pit bull and the incident is under investigation by the Special Victims Unit.[6]
January 10 Rockcastle County, Kentucky Donald Abner 55 years pit bull Police were called to the home after a neighbor called 911. They found Abner in the backyard being attacked by the pit bull and the owner of the pit bull, Melissa Wolke (38). She was sitting on Abner, punching him in the face while the dog attacked him. Wolke had to be tased to remove her from Abner's body and the police put down the "overly aggressive" female pit bull named Denali. The victim had bite wounds on his head and face. Wolke was charged with murder.[7][8]
January 25 Lafayette, Indiana Julian Connell 1 month pit bull mix The pit bull mix was fighting with a beagle mix in the family home. The teenage son removed the beagle from the room to get it away from the pit bull. The pit bull mix then attacked the baby. The coroner stated that one month old Julian died from multiple sharp, catastrophic injuries to his head and neck.[9][10]
January 30 Attala County, Mississippi Harvey Harmon, Jr 76 years 2 pit bulls and 2 mixed breeds Victim was pulled out of his wheelchair by four dogs and mauled to death in his front yard in the Palestine community. The two pit bulls belonged to Harmon's nephew and the two mixed breeds were strays that "hung around" the area. 3 of the 4 dogs were put down by a veterinarian at the scene, the 4th, one of the strays, escaped.[11]
February 10 Oro Grande, California Sterling Vermeer 5 years pit bull The family pit bull "Thor" killed Sterling in the family home. The 5-year-old was dead by the time the police arrived. A family member called 911 stating that the pit bull attacked the child and would not let go.[12]
February 11 Plainfield, Illinois Devin White 25 years pit bull In an unprovoked attack, the family pit bull attacked the victim and 3 other adults (a 52-year-old woman, a 25-year-old woman, and a 19-year-old man). All four victims were taken to the hospital, but White later succumbed to the severe injuries he received when his pit bull mauled him after he tried to stop the attack on the other people in the home.[13]
February 18 Knott County, Kentucky Corey Godsey 13 years pack of feral dogs Killed by dogs up a rural hillside. An investigation by state police led to DNA matches with several feral dogs at a nearby mine site.[14][15]
February 23 Crawford County, Georgia Lee Alvin Bechum 76 years pit bulls (2) + Labrador-mix (1) Victim was found dead outside his home with dog bites. Autopsy confirmed the cause was traumatic injuries due to a dog attack. The neighbors were arrested two weeks later and charged with involuntary manslaughter. The three dogs were confiscated.[16][17]
February 27 Shreveport, Louisiana Geraldine Hamlin 64 years 2 pit bulls Hamlin was attacked by the two family pit bulls in her home she shared with her son and died as a result of her injuries. [18]
March 3 Chipley, Florida Beverly Jean Dove 60 years pack of dogs Victim was attacked by a pack of at least five dogs while walking near the assisted living facility that she was a resident of. The dogs lived on a nearby property and were not stray. All of the dogs were captured by animal control.[19]
March 9 Portsmouth, Virginia Demi Witherspoon 2 years pit bull The family dog bit the child's face completely off.[20][21]
April 11 Portland, Oregon Frederick Shew 70 years Mastiff Killed by his own dog after going to bed. The victim's housemate heard a loud noise and when he went to check on the noise, he found the dog biting and shaking the victim's neck. The housemate was able to wrestle the dog away from the victim; however, it was too late and the victim died from the bite wounds before paramedics arrived. The dog had a history of aggression and was previously involved with several bite-related incidents. The dog was seized by authorities and was euthanized the next day.[22]
April 12 Fort Worth, Texas Sharon Rene Baldwin 60 years pit bull The elderly wheelchair-bound woman was attacked on March 28 by a dog in the household which bit her arm, shoulder and neck. Her death two weeks later was listed as "mauling by canine." The dog was held for two weeks and then euthanized.[23]
April 22 Memphis, Tennessee Doris Arrington 59 years unspecified Victim was found dead after being attacked, and four dogs covered in blood were discovered at a nearby house. Three people, the owners of the dogs, were indicted and arrested on reckless homicide charges. The dogs had been the subject of several previous aggressive incident complaints and all four were euthanized.[24]
May 7 Lyons, Georgia Nancy Shaw 62 years Unreleased (4) A local doctor was found dead lying in a ditch with her car door open and engine running. She had been attacked by dogs. Three dogs were found and seized; a fourth had been killed by a neighbor.[25][26]
May 9 Fox Lake, Illinois Lisa Urso 52 years French Bulldog mix, possibly a Shorty Bull Victim was found unresponsive on the back patio of her home with multiple dog bite-related injuries after being attacked by her family dog. The dog had been involved with two previous bite incidents, one of which required her boyfriend to seek medical attention after the dog bit him.[27][28]
May 28 Mount Vernon, Arkansas Robert Taylor 9 years pit bulls (2) The boy was mauled and killed by the neighbor's pit bulls when he had gone outside to check the mail. The dogs had been aggressive in the past. The dog's owner was arrested on a "felony tampering with physical evidence" charge.[29]
May 31 Murray County, Georgia Skylar Headrick 11 years Neapolitan Mastiffs (2) Victim was attacked by the two family dogs and was found deceased by her older sister on the basement floor of her home with injures consistent with dog bites. The victim's family stated that the two dogs were never aggressive towards anyone before. The dogs were surrendered and are no longer with the family.[30]
June 1 Stockton, California Brice Sanders 2 years pit bull A toddler was attacked by a dog on May 31 and mauled. He was transported to hospital and died the following day.[31]
June 3 Country Club Hills, Illinois Kati Amos 70 years Unspecified (4) Police arrived during the attack of four dogs on an elderly woman in a yard. She was taken to hospital and pronounced dead. The dogs belonged to the victim and her relatives. One dog was killed on scene and the other three confiscated.[32]
June 11 Hartford, South Dakota Undisclosed (boy) 6 weeks Belgian Malinois The infant was bitten several times by the family dog. He was flown to hospital where he later died. The dog was seized.[33]
June 28 Mandeville, Louisiana Barbara Cook 72 years Pit Bull Killed after being attacked by her daughter's two pit bulls near Mandeville, Louisiana. At the time of the attack, Barbara was babysitting her grandson and put herself between her grandson and the dog in an attempt to protect him.[34]
June 29 Hunt County, Texas Baby Jonah 23 months pit bull The toddler had gotten out of his enclosed yard, unnoticed, and was attacked in the street by a neighbor's dog which escaped its four-foot chain link fenced yard. The child was transported to hospital but did not survive his injuries. The dog was seized.[35]
July 1 Jeffersonville, Indiana Donald Ryan 62 years pit bull Victim was still being attacked at his home by his own dog when responders arrived. After trying pepper spray, the dog was shot to stop the attack.[36][37]
July 5 Joliet, Illinois Marley Wilander 1 year pit bull-mix The child was attacked in an upstairs bedroom in the middle of the night. The child's family had been visiting the household for a July 4th party and the household dogs had been confined to the basement.[38]
July 16 East Providence, Rhode Island Scarlett Pereira 1 year pit bull In an unprovoked attack, the family dog attacked the child when the adults went outside for lunch and placed the child on the ground. Two adults were injured trying to intervene in the attack. Responders were unable to capture the dog loose in the backyard and later climbed onto the roof and shot it.[39][40]
August 7 Akron, Ohio Baby boy 7 months pit bull The child was attacked by the 7-year old family dog while in the arms of his great-grandmother.[41]
August 26 Belleville, Illinois Stephen Pemberton Sr. 61 years pit bull (2) Victim was attacked by two dogs in his home. The two dogs were usually kept in the laundry room when the dogs' owner, the victim's 45-year-old stepson, left the house. The stepson's wife and another adult remained shut in another room during the attack and phoned the dog's owner, who arrived home to find his stepfather dead.[42][43]
August 28 Margate, Florida Carolyn Varanese 84 years American Bulldog or pit bull or pit bull-mix Killed in her home by the dog that her son had adopted only a few weeks earlier. Her son was injured trying to stop the attack. The dog was seized by animal control and euthanized.[44][45]
September 11 McCurtain County, Oklahoma Undisclosed 70 years pit bull (2) An elderly woman was attacked when she was dropped off by her daughter at her other daughter's house. The victim suffered extremely severe facial lacerations and a partially amputated leg. The woman's two daughters were also bitten, and all three women were transported to hospital. A family member euthanized the dogs.[46]
September 29 Gray Court, South Carolina Jacqueline Robinson 32 years Unspecified (3) Killed by three dogs while walking along a lane. The dogs were seized from a nearby property. The dogs' owner was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter and three counts of possessing a dangerous animal.[47][48]
October 8 Moses Lake, Washington Zachary S. Willis 27 years pit bull or mix One man killed and a woman seriously injured. The dog lived at the home with the victims. [49]
October 14 Schofield Barracks, Hawaii Undisclosed 3-4 months Unspecified An infant suffered head injuries when attacked at home by a dog, and was pronounced dead at Tripler Army Medical Center. Reports differed on whether the infant was three or four months old.[50][51]
October 19 Nauvoo, Alabama Ruthie Mae Brown 36 years Unspecified (5+) Victim was killed by a pack of dogs while walking down Jagger Road.[52] Two of the animals were turned in by their owner, while three others were captured.[52] The pack was familiar to people who lived in the area, and a witness stated the victim was attacked by seven or eight dogs.[53]
October 23 Tulsa, Oklahoma Curtis Wickham 26 years Pit bull (3) Three pit bulls attacked Curtis Wickham after he got into a fight with the dogs' owner, Champagne Walker. Wickham died from his injuries at the hospital.[54]
October 26 Virginia Undisclosed Undisclosed (infant) German Shepherd A German Shepherd killed an infant while the baby was sleeping in their parents' bed. The baby's father woke during the attack and killed the dog immediately after.[55]

See also[edit]

Species:

In other countries:

References[edit]

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