USA Fatality #16 – 5-year-old Girl Bitten by a Pit Bull – Concerns Voiced About Media Reports

On Monday, September 29, 2008, Katya Teresa Todesco, a 5-year-old girl residing in Simi Valley, California, died from a pit bull attack which occurred on September 23, 2008. The dog was in a neighbor’s back yard. (Click here to read the story.)

There is an element of cover-up in this story that is somewhat remarkable. Authorities did not immediately report the attack, saying that keeping it out of the media would be best for the girl’s parents. Tellingly, however, Ventura County Department of Animal Regulations Director Kathy Jenks also told reporters that in her opinion “pit bull attacks are reported much more frequently than those by other breeds of dogs.” 

However, there is no evidence confirming this. 

Jenks also admitted that on the night Katya was attacked, a different pit bull killed another dog in Simi Valley, and yet another pit bull bit a woman on her legs in the same city. Both dogs were taken to the animal shelter, and Simi Valley police did not report any of the attacks to the media.

Doesn’t this contradict what Jenks said? On her watch, pit bull attacks are NOT reported to the media. Is this what we should expect from animal control officials: manipulation of what the community knows and doesn’t know about pit bull attacks?