Donald Brewer, the owner of a pit bull that killed 2-year-old Arianna Fleeman in 2005, will this week start serving a 12-month jail sentence for involuntary manslaughter.
The crime of involuntary manslaughter means the killing of a human being as a result of negligence. The facts of this case suggest, however, that there was far more than negligence on the part of this dog owner — and that responsibility for this attack also rests upon the animal control department.
Brewer’s dog had bitten another person one week before. Animal control authorities had allowed Brewer to keep his dog in “home quarantine.” Without a muzzle, however, this dog was a clear and present danger to everyone in his house and all of his neighbors.
It was dangerous and reckless to permit a toddler to get near Brewer’s dog, or to allow the dog to be unmuzzled. But Brewer is not paying the price for reckless homicide, which commonly is called second degree murder. He was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser crime, involuntary manslaughter.
And what about animal control? I have not heard that anyone from that department was disciplined over this. Yet their awful decision to release this dog back to its owner, during the period of quarantine, was also a cause of Arianna’s death.