On October 15, 2007, Rosalie Bivins, 65, died after a pack of five to seven dogs attacked her as she used a walker to make her way to the mailbox at the end of her driveway. This happened in Oklahoma, a strict liability state. (Click here to read the article.)
The common danger factor in this fatal mauling was multiple dogs, also referred to as the pack mentality. I have identified five dangerous circumstances that appear to be present in nearly all of the canine homicides in recent memory. According to the Kenneth Phillips dog bite danger scale, the presence of two or more of the following factors is to be avoided:
- More than one dog in their own yard, and no master present. Being in a yard controlled by one or more dogs, with the owner off somewhere else, is a common feature of many of the most recent canine inflicted homicides.
- Pit bull, Rottweiler, Akita or Chow. Where death is the result, the dog is most often a pit bull or a Rottweiler. The two other breeds that I see most in my law practice are Akitas and Chows.
- The pack mentality. 3 are worse than 2, 4 are worse than 3, etc. It is well established that docile dogs often become uncharacteristically violent and vicious when they are in a pack.
- Chained or tethered. Chained dogs become dangerous.
- Male. Male dogs are several times more dangerous than female dogs.