Today is the anniversary of the mauling death of a woman by two mastiffs who had been bred for fighting. Diane Whipple, a former U.S. Women's Lacrosse World Cup Team member was mauled during a neighborhood dispute over the behavior of the two large dogs, according to news accounts the victim was attacked at her apartment building by the 140-pound dogs. The 33-year-old victim died after suffering 77 bite wounds on January 26, 2001. The dogs had been bred for fighting on behalf of a leader of a Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, who was serving a life sentence. The dogs' adoptive owners, further outraged the public by seemingly blaming Whipple for the attack. The Defendant who was present during the attack apparently told first responders that she was an EMT, but did not do anything to help the victim who was still alive at the scene, bleeding profusely and needing immediate emergency medical care. The lawyers in whose custody the dogs lived while their owner was in jail were convicted in the criminal trial. The lawyer who was present during the dog attack was convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years. The other lawyer, who was not at the attack, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to four years. There were civil lawsuits brought as well, for the wrongful death of the innocent victim.
This anniversary reminds us how important it is to responsibly keep animals and to make sure that they are under control so as no to unnecessarily injure others. As the Bull Mastiff information site explains:
Once you take a Bullmastiff into your possession – you also take on all the responsibilities that come with owning this breed. If you do not realize these RESPONSIBILITIES and/or feel that they are irrelevant, you will surely think about it again when you are being sued for something your Bullmastiff did or that you neglected to do for your Bullmastiff.
Before buying a potentially dangerous breed of dog, make sure that you can make the investment of time, money and training necessary to prevent needless injury and pain. Do your homework and then make an informed choice.