List of fatal dog attacks in the United States
Fatal dog attacks in the United States cause the deaths of about 30 to 50 people in the US each year, and the number of deaths from dog attacks appears to be increasing. 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). 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.
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.
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 2020Edit
Fatalities in 2020Edit
|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. Taos Pueblo is an Indian Reservation, with a large population of dogs owned by residents and permitted to roam freely, according to Torres' sister. |
|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.|
|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). Wolke was sitting on Abner and 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.|
|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.|
|January 30||Attala County, Mississippi||Harvey Harmon, Jr||76 years||2 pit bulls and 2 mixed breeds||The 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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|February 18||Knott County, Kentucky||Corey Godsey||13 years||pack of feral dogs||The victim was killed by dogs on a rural hillside. An investigation by state police led to DNA matches with several feral dogs at a nearby mine site.|
|February 23||Crawford County, Georgia||Lee Alvin Bechum||76 years||pit bulls (2) + Labrador-mix (1)||The 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.|
|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. |
|March 3||Chipley, Florida||Beverly Jean Dove||60 years||pack of dogs||The victim was attacked by a pack of at least five dogs while walking near the assisted living facility of which she was a resident. The dogs lived on a nearby property and were not stray. All of the dogs were captured by animal control.|
|March 9||Portsmouth, Virginia||Demi Witherspoon||2 years||pit bull||The family dog bit the child's face completely off.|
|April 11||Portland, Oregon||Frederick Shew||70 years||Mastiff||The victim was killed by his own dog after going to bed. The victim's housemate heard a loud noise and when he went to check on it, he found the dog biting and shaking the victim's neck. The housemate was able to wrestle the dog away from the victim; it was too late, however, 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.|
|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.|
|April 22||Memphis, Tennessee||Doris Arrington||59 years||unspecified||The 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.|
|May 7||Lyons, Georgia||Nancy Shaw||62 years||Unreleased (4)||A local doctor was found lying dead in a ditch with her car door open and the engine running. She had been attacked by dogs. Three dogs were found and seized; a fourth had been killed by a neighbor.|
|May 9||Fox Lake, Illinois||Lisa Urso||52 years||French Bulldog mix, possibly a Shorty Bull||The 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 in two previous bite incidents, one of which had required her boyfriend to seek medical attention after the dog bit him.|
|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.|
|May 31||Murray County, Georgia||Skylar Headrick||11 years||Neapolitan Mastiffs (2)||The 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.|
|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 a hospital and died the following day.|
|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.|
|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 a hospital where he later died. The dog was seized.|
|June 28||Mandeville, Louisiana||Barbara Cook||72 years||Pit Bull||The victim was 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.|
|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.|
|July 1||Jeffersonville, Indiana||Donald Ryan||62 years||pit bull||The victim was still being attacked at his home by his own dog when responders arrived. After trying pepper spray, a police officer shot the dog to stop the attack.|
|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.|
|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, which was loose in the backyard, and later climbed onto the roof and shot it.|
|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.|
|August 26||Belleville, Illinois||Stephen Pemberton Sr.||61 years||pit bull (2)||The 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.|
|August 28||Margate, Florida||Carolyn Varanese||84 years||American Bulldog or pit bull or pit bull-mix||The victim was 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.|
|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 a hospital. A family member euthanized the dogs.|
|September 29||Gray Court, South Carolina||Jacqueline Robinson||32 years||Unspecified (3)||The victim was 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.|
|October 8||Moses Lake, Washington||Zachary S. Willis||27 years||pit bull or mix||One man was killed and a woman seriously injured. The dog lived at the home with the victims. |
|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 differ on whether the infant was three or four months old.|
|October 19||Nauvoo, Alabama||Ruthie Mae Brown||36 years||Unspecified (5+)||The victim was killed by a pack of dogs while walking down Jagger Road. Two of the animals were turned in by their owner, while three others were captured. The pack was familiar to people who lived in the area, and a witness stated the victim was attacked by seven or eight dogs.|
|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.|
|October 26||Hampton, 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.|
- Animal attack
- Beware of the dog
- Coyote attack
- Dingo attack
- Dog bite § Prevention
- Dogs in the United States
- List of wolf attacks
- Wolf attack
- List of fatal alligator attacks in the United States
- List of fatal bear attacks in North America
- List of fatal cougar attacks in North America
- List of fatal snake bites in the United States
- List of fatal shark attacks in the United States
In other countries:
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