9-Year-Old Detroit Girl Fatally Mauled by 3 Dogs

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
August 20, 2019US News
9-Year-Old Detroit Girl Fatally Mauled by 3 Dogs
Stock photo of an ambulance. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

DETROIT—A 9-year-old Detroit girl was killed when she was attacked by three dogs as she rode on a bike in an alley near her home.

Detroit Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood said neighbors tried to stop the Monday afternoon attack on the girl without success.

According to the Detroit Free Press, police said a nearby resident threw a brick at the dogs in an attempt to stop the attack.

Another neighbor fired shots at the dogs, a Detroit Fire Department emergency responder said one of the dogs appeared to have been shot.

When emergency personnel arrived on the scene, the girl’s father was performing CPR.

“At that point, the neighbors were shooting at the dogs. We were performing EMS under gunfire,” Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell told news outlets.

Police haven’t identified the victim, who was taken to Children’s Hospital of Michigan, where she was pronounced dead.

“She suffered severe traumatic injuries,” Fornell said.

In a statement, the Detroit Health Department, which oversees the city’s animal control unit, said two of the dogs were retrieved by their owner.

The department said officials sought a court order to seize the animals, which police described as pit bulls or pit-bull mixes.

After officers obtained the court order, the owner of the dogs, a 33-year-old man was taken into custody Monday night.

The two surviving dogs were also seized by authorities after obtaining the court order. The owner of the dogs was not identified, The Detroit News reported.

Pit Bulls

Pit bulls, and any dog deemed to look like one despite not having any pit-bull DNA, are the most prevalent in shelters (pdf).

Dogs labeled as “pit bulls” spend more than three times longer in a shelter than similar-looking dogs not deemed pit bulls, reports the Washington Post. Many are among the 670,000 dogs euthanized each year, according to the ASPCA.

Research On Dog Bite Incidents

About 1,000 U.S. citizens require emergency care treatment for serious dog bite injuries on a daily basis, according to Dogsbite.org.

Annually, about 9,500 citizens are hospitalized due to dog bite injuries.

In a 13-year analysis, the website says that of 433 fatal dog attacks in the United States, pit bulls contributed to 66 percent, or 284 deaths. Rottweilers, the second on the list, inflicted 10 percent of attacks that resulted in human death, the report says. German shepherds accounted for 4.6 percent of fatal attacks. Mixed-breed dogs accounted for 3.9 percent and the American bulldog was next at 3.5 percent, the report said. Mastiffs and Bullmastiffs accounted for 3.2 percent of deaths. Last on the list were Huskies, which accounted for 3 percent of fatal attacks.

The report compiled fatal dog attacks between 2005 and 2017, showing that 48 percent of the victims were children aged 9 or younger.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are more likely than adults to be bitten by a dog and when they are the injuries can be more severe. Over half of dog bite injuries occur at home with dogs that are families with their victims.

“As the number of dogs in the home increases, so does the likelihood of being bitten. Adults with two or more dogs in the household are five times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs at home,” the agency stated. “Among adults, men are more likely than women to be bitten by a dog.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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