A Texas woman who was hospitalized late last month with critical injuries following an attack by a stray dog she took into her home several days before the attack died on April 12.
According to officials with the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, her death was listed as “mauling by canine.”
Officials said the stray dog that attacked and killed 60-year-old Sharon Rene Baldwin in her Fort Worth home on March 28 was a pit bull terrier. The dog bit her in the shoulder, arm, and neck.
The dog was euthanized on April 13, a day after Baldwin’s death, a city official told The Star-Telegram.
Following an investigation, officials learned that a man who lived together with Baldwin found the dog and decided to take care of the animal while he searched for the true owners.
Investigators said the man told them the dog did not show any problems in the first days they took the dog in their home.
However, an investigation found that Baldwin—who uses a wheelchair, either rolled over the dog in her wheelchair or fell on top of the canine, prompting it to attack her, The Star-Telegram reported.
The real owners of the pit bull terrier were eventually found and after they stepped forward, they surrendered the dog to animal control officers who decided to put it down after quarantining and evaluating the dog, DFW 11 reported.
City officials said not all dogs that bite are euthanized.
Pit bulls, and any dog deemed to look like one despite not having any pit-bull DNA, are the most prevalent in shelters, according to a study (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.
“Pit bulls are left at shelters in record numbers—and since they are difficult to adopt out, reputable shelters (that don’t slam the door in the dogs’ faces) are finding that they must euthanize more pit bulls and pit bull mixes than all other dogs combined,” animal rights group PETA said.
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.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are more likely than adults to be bitten by a dog and when their injuries can be more severe. Over half of dog bite injuries occur at home with dogs that are pets of 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.”