1980: First Modern Pit Bull Ordinance, Hollywood, Florida

A jurisdiction in southern Florida, the City of Hollywood, passed the first known modern pit bull ordinance in the United States after a series of attacks, most notably the horrific mauling of 7-year old Frankie Scarbrough. The Everglades Pit Bull Club vowed to fight the Hollywood ordinance. Representing the group was attorney David Cerf, who first used the “discrimination” buzzwords in the media. South Florida had been seeing these grisly attacks since 1945, when Doretta Zinke was mauled to death by a pack of fighting dogs.

Pit bull owners fight new law
Lakeland Ledger
January 24, 1980
Miami (AP) – South Florida pit bull terrier owners say they’ll fight proposed regulation of the pets, even though the breed has been involved in two savage attacks recently. After a three-hour meeting, 40 members of the Everglades Pit Bull Club voted unanimously Tuesday night to file a lawsuit against the City of Hollywood, Fla., if it adopts the final version of an ordinance requiring pit bull owners to register their dogs. The ordinance also would make owners show evidence of liability insurance. – Lakeland Ledger

The Bacon Raton News reported the same day that a 14-year old girl was attacked by a pit bull (in the City of Everglades) as South Florida pit bull owners staged a rally against the new Hollywood ordinance. The Hollywood ordinance was overturned by a judge in 1982 — it was early and not well written breed-specific legislation. By 1989, a number of other jurisdictions in South Florida had adopted pit bull laws, including Miami-Dade County, which adopted a ban. The Miami-Dade County pit bull ban was upheld as a ballot item by voters in 2012.

Hollywood florida pit bull attack

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1900: ‘Pit’ Bulldog Muzzle Ordinance, Butte, MT

Dogs Days at An End
May 1, 1900
Daily Inter Mountain
Butte, Montana
Library of Congress

Dogs Days at An End
Canine Catcher Commences Business
Butte To-Day
Under the new dog ordinance, which goes into effect today, the dog catcher will begin business today instead of June 1. The canines of the city will be particularly interested in the following sections of the new law:
“Section 4. It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of any bulldog to permit the same to run at large without being securely muzzled, so as to prevent said animal from biting. Any person violating this section shall upon conviction, be subjected to a fine of not less that $5 nor more that 425. – Daily Inter Mountain

early breed-specific ordinance

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2016 Pit Bull Fatality: Susan Shawl

August 2016
Susan Shawl, 60
Fatal pit bull attack

The victim who was fatally attacked by her two family pit bulls has been identified as Susan Shawl, 60. The two family pit bulls belonged to Susan Shawl’s son, Richard Shawl, 36, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reports. Family friends say the victim’s husband passed away as recently as July. The son has surrendered the two pit bulls to be euthanized. – CBS denver
Conifer, CO – Two family pit bulls killed a woman and injured her son Monday night. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office responded to a dog attack in the 31000 block of Black Widow Drive, a remote part of Conifer, about 7 pm. The woman died on scene, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Dionne Waugh said. Her son suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital. The mother and son owned the dogs, Waugh said. Authorities seized two pit bulls from the home. – DogsBite.org

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1907: ‘Pit’ Bulldog Muzzle Ordinance, Gastonia, NC

Gaston
June 28, 1907
Gastonia (Gaston County) North Carolina
Yorkville Enquirer
Library of Congress

Gaston
Gastonia Gazette, June 25 … An ordinance passed by the city council last week places a penalty of $50 on the owner of a bulldog who gives the animal the freedom of the streets without having first properly muzzled him — the dog. – Yorkville Enquirer

early breed-specific ordinance

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1906: ‘Pit’ Bulldog Muzzle Ordinance, Danville, VA

Down on Bulldogs
February 15, 1906
Daneville, Virginia
The Times Dispatch
Library of Congress

Down on Bulldogs
(Special to The Times-Dispatch)
DANVILLE, VA., February 14 – Dogs was the chief topic of discussion at a lengthy meeting of Common Council of Danville last night. A comprehensive dog ordinance was adopted, which provides for the placing of muzzles on all bulldogs or canines with bulldog blood, that run at large on the streets. The ordinance further provides for a pound, in which to place all dogs that do not have on their necks tags showing that the taxes have been paid. The ordinance, adopted by the Board of Aldermen to place a $25 tax on bulldogs, curs or mongrels was defeated by the Common Council. – The Times Dispatch

Early Breed-Specific Laws

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1909: ‘Pit’ Bulldog Muzzle Ordinance, Hopkinsville, KY

Many New Ordinances
April 6, 1909
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Hopkinsville Kentuckian
Library of Congress

Many New Ordinances
Most of them Ordering Concrete Pavements Laid on Various Streets
COUNCIL’S MEETING
The City Council held a busy session Friday night will all of the members present … An ordinance was passed requiring bulldogs on the streets to be muzzled at all times, and another requiring distributors of patent medicine samples to place them in the hands of adults only. – Hopsville Kentuckian

early breed-specific ordinance

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1909: ‘Pit’ Bulldog Muzzle Ordinance, Walkerville, MT

January 5, 1909
Walkerville, Montana
Anaconda Standard – Page 7

Walkerville Town Has New Dog Law
Additional Duties Are Given to the Town Marshal
… Among other things it requires a license of $2 annually for every dog in the town. If a bulldog is allowed to go unmuzzled, his owner can be fined not less than $10. – Anaconda Standard

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2016 Pit Bull Fatality: Derion Stevenson

August 2016, Las Vegas, NV
Derion Stevenson, 9
Fatal pit bull attack

The Clark County coroner’s office said 9-year old Derion Stevenson died from blunt force injuries to the neck and head from the dog attack. The manner of death was ruled an accident. Derion was killed by a pit bull-mix while visiting a friend’s home Wednesday. The dog, named Left Eye, has since been euthanized. Jesse Roybal, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department, said that Derion was with his friends when the pit bull fatally attacked him in the face and neck. – DogsBite.org
The pet “pit bull mix” that mauled and killed a 9-year-old Las Vegas boy Wednesday had been involved in a fight with another neighborhood dog in July, but Clark County animal control didn’t deem the animal dangerous or vicious at the time, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The day of the dog fight, the pet’s owner was also cited for not neutering it and ordered to do so. When the boy was killed, the dog still hadn’t been neutered. – Las Vegas Review-Journal

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2016 Pit Bull Fatality: Kayden Begay

July 2016, Navajo County, AZ
Kayden Begay, 3
Fatal pit bull attack
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Window Rock, AZ – A 3-year old boy was killed by a pack of dogs in Seba Dalkai Thursday. The community is located on the Navajo Nation Reservation northeast of Flagstaff. The boy’s mother, Kimasha Begay of Gallup, told the Navajo Times that Kayden Colter Begay was visiting her paternal grandparents in Seba Dalkai at the time. Kayden had followed his aunt outside to get the cattle when a pack of 12 pit bulls owned by the family’s neighbor attacked and killed him. – DogsBite.org
“From what I was told, the aunt didn’t know Kayden had followed her,” said Kimasha Begay, holding back sobs. “She turned around and saw the dogs gathered around something. She went to see what they were doing, and that’s when she found my son.” Kimasha Begay said she was told the left side of Kayden’s face had been torn off and his thigh was gnawed to the bone, reports the Navajo Times.

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2016 Pit Bull Fatality: Hunter Bragg

June 2016, Penobscot County, ME
Hunter Bragg, 7
Fatal pit bull attack

Update: 06/06/16: The 7-year old boy struck down by a pit bull has been identified as Hunter Bragg of Bangor. The adult male pit bull that killed him has been euthanized, Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton said at a news conference Monday afternoon. On Saturday, Hunter was playing in the yard with two other children at Gary Merchant’s home at 207 Moody’s Mill Road when the attack occurred. The child’s father, Jason Bragg, and Merchant were at the residence at the time, Sheriff Morton said.
06/05/16: Corinna, ME – On Saturday, deputies responded to a dog attack at a home on Moody’s Mills Road in Corinna at 5:15 pm, states a release issued Saturday night by Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton. When deputies arrived at the scene, they found the 7-year old boy had died as a result of the attack. No one else was injured, and the dog was put down, states the release. Additional details were not provided, including the victim’s name. An investigation into the attack is ongoing. – DogsBite.org

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1908: Henry Turpin, Assisted Suicide by Pit Bull

Vicious Bulldog Helps Master to Drown Himself
May 1, 1908
Albuquerque Citizen
Library of Congress

Vicious Bulldog Helps Master to Drown Himself
Canine Bit Would Be Rescuers When They Attempted to Save Man from Watery Grave
—–
His Third Attempt Was Successful
Henry TurpinHarrisburg. May 1. — After two attempts early today to commit suicide, Henry P. Turpin., aged 32, succeeded in drowning himself in the old Pennsylvania canal at Steelton near here. He spent the night in drinking. Early this morning, accompanied by a vicious bull terrier, he went to the canal and plunged in. Two men saw him and made an attempt at rescue, but the dog sprang at them, biting one man on the wrist. The dog was thrown aside and held by another man who appeared while the other two swam to Turpin and dragged him out.
Later he returned to the canal and again jumped in. Another attempt was made by the two men to reach him but the dog attacked them and bit each severely. Once more Turpin was rescued and the men telephoned for the police.
Before one arrived Turpin, with the assistance of his faithful dog, got away from his rescuers and made the third and successful attempt to end his life.
Once more ‘the men attempted to follow him into the water but the dog chased them from the edge of the water. One succeeded in jumping into the stream but the dog followed and attacked him the water.
Finally, an officer arrived and scared off the dog by shooting, but in the meantime Turpin had drowned. His father committed suicide ten years ago. –Albuquerque Citizen

Bull Dog Helps Master to Drown
May 7, 1908
The Clarksburg Telegram
Library of Congress

Bull Dog Helps Master to Drown
Drives Off Three Times Two Men Who Try to Save Life of the Man.
HARRISBURG, Pa., May 1 — After making two attempts to commit suicide although a vicious bulldog owned by the would-be suicide used its best endeavors to prevent two rescuers from pulling its master from the water, Henry P. Turpin, aged 32 years, committed suicide by drowning himself in the old Pennsylvania canal at Steelton, near here today. The two men twice pulled Turpin from the water, but the third time the dog was more vicious than ever and kept the men from the edge of the water. –The Clarksburg Telegram

Was Determined to Die
May 07, 1908
The Spanish Fork press
Library of Congress

Was Determined to Die
Harrisburg — After making two attempts to commit suicide although a vicious bulldog used its best endeavors to prevent the rescuers from pulling the would-be suicide from the water, Henry P Turpin, aged 32 years, succeeded in drowning himself in the old Pennsylvania canal. He had been drinking heavily and was seen by two men to jump In the canal. Twice they rescued the man in spite of the attacks of his bulldog, but the third time he broke away from them, plunged into the canal and was drowned. – The Spanish Fork press

Now that is what can rightly be called a “purposeful act.”
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2016 Pit Bull Fatality: Adonis Reddick

May 2016, St. Louis County, MO
Adonis Reddick, 45
Fatal pit bull attack

St. Louis County Police released autopsy results of a man found dead Monday in a home with his two pet pit bulls. Adonis Reddick, 45-years old, died due to fatal dog bite injuries inflicted to his neck, authorities said. St. Louis County police spokesman Shawn McGuire said the county medical examiner determined that Reddick died of “penetrating and perforating” wounds to the neck. County police investigators believe he was killed by one of his two pit bulls. – DogsBite.org
Reddick had developmental disabilities but lived independently and volunteered with St. Louis ARC, which serves people with disabilities in the region, said Sharon Spurlock, director of family support for the organization. Reddick won a national award last year for his efforts to educate, train and support others living with disabilities. – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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2016 Pit Bull Fatality: Sebastian Caban

April 2016, San Diego County, CA
Sebastian Caban, < 1
Fatal pit bull attack
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Rehomed by San Diego Humane Society: It was learned today that San Diego Humane Society adopted out the pit bull, named Polo, that killed a baby 5-months earlier. In a letter to staff and volunteers, the director, Gary Weitzman, said: “This horrible accident was one that all of us in animal sheltering dread and not a single one of us could have  foreseen.  There was not a fragment of aggression seen in this dog before tragedy struck.  But tragedy did  strike and there was nothing any of us could have done to prevent it.” – SDHS
UPDATE:
The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the 3-day old baby boy that was attacked and killed by the family pit bull-mix last Thursday. Sebastian Caban of San Diego died due to dog bite injuries to his head, states the medical examiner’s news release. The manner of death was ruled an accident. The “decedent was mauled by the family dog after the dog was startled awake when sleeping on the bed with the mother and decedent,” states the news release.
San Diego, CA – A 3-day old baby was fatally attacked by a family pit bull, San Diego police said Friday. The deadly attack occurred Thursday night on Flanders Drive in the Mira Mesa area. The dog is now in the custody of San Diego County Animal Services, police said. Dan DeSousa, Deputy Director of Animal Services and longtime pit bull sympathizer, said the dog is a 2-year old male, neutered pit bull, but insisted on calling the animal an “American Staffordshire Terrier.” – DogsBite.org

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2016 Pit Bull Fatality: Sonda Tyson

March 2016, Lake County, FL
Sonda Tyson, 66
Fatal pit bull attack
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Leesburg, FL Police identified the woman they believed was fatally attacked by her own dog Thursday night as 66-year old Sonda Tyson. Tyson was found by her granddaughter and daughter-in-law lying in a pool of blood on the back porch of her Leesburg residence, a police death report states. Her arms had “significant damage” and were missing flesh.
Preliminary results from the medical examiner indicate the death was caused by massive blood loss, resulting from the mauling,” states the release. After next of kin were notified, investigators determined the dog belonged to the victim and she had acquired the animal as a puppy, according to the release. News agencies report the dog is described as a large brindle pit bull-mix dog in the police report. The deadly attack occurred at a residence on the 1200 block of South Street. – DogsBite.org

Media Release: 16-03-0539On 03/31/2016, at approximately 4:53 PM, Leesburg police officers were summoned to 1215 South…

Posted by Leesburg Police Department on Friday, April 1, 2016

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2016 Pit Bull Fatality: Bessie Flowers

March 2016, Mecklenburg County, NC
86-years old
Fatal pit bull attack
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3/29/16: The victim, identified as Bessie Flowers, was found suffering from fatal dog bite injuries. She died at the scene. “WBTV has learned that Flowers was heading back into the house from the back porch when she either slipped or tripped onto a dog bed. The family’s dogs – 2 pit bulls – went over to Flowers while she was down and apparently started playing with her. A police source says the dogs became more aggressive, and that the aggression escalated. – WBTV.com
3/28/16: Charlotte, NC – An 86-year old woman was attacked and killed by two dogs while visiting a family member’s home in south Charlotte. The victim, whose name has not been released, suffered “fatal dog bite injuries” and was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. Reports say the woman was visiting her daughter’s townhome on the 3200 block of Luke Crossing when the lethal attack occurred. Captain Todd Lontz confirmed that the dogs involved “are actually family dogs.” – DogsBite.org

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