06/25/13: Aunt Owned Dog
Herbie Christmas with Florence County Environmental Services confirmed that the dog involved in the girl’s death was a pit bull-mix. Christmas added that the animal was full grown and belonged to the aunt of the deceased child; an earlier report said the pit bull belonged to the child’s mother. This was the first deadly dog mauling in the county in his 27-years of service, according to Christmas. On average they respond to between 8 and 10 dog attacks or bites per week.
06/25/15: Pit Bull Kills Child
Effingham, SC – Late Tuesday morning, a 5-year old girl was attacked and killed by a chained pit bull at a relative’s home. Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken confirmed the death of Arianna Jolee Merrbach who died on scene. The attack occurred at about 11:15 am at 7208 Fork Road in Effingham. Florence County EMS and Howe Springs Fire Department first responded to the scene. The pit bull was surrendered by its owner and has already been euthanized. This is the third fatal pit bull attack in South Carolina since January 1, 2013. – DogsBite.org
factU.S. fatal pit bull attacks have surpassed 370 since 1998; the last year the CDC studied fatal dog attack data by breed. In the last 8-year period of the CDC study (1991 to 1998), pit bulls averaged 3 deaths per year. From 2011 to 2018, the most recent 8-year period, pit bulls averaged 25.5 deaths per year, an increase of over 740%.