Toddler Killed by Family Dogs

pit bull

Have you ever wondered if your family pet poses any danger to your child(ren)? An 18-month-old girl was mauled to death by her family’s seven dogs – pit bulls and pit bull mixes – Wednesday evening. Do you own a pit bull? If you do, did you know that pit bulls have been legally singled out as “inherently dangerous”?

The toddler was out in the yard when the dogs, owned by her family, fatally attacked her. Her grandmother “was asleep when she heard a commotion and saw the girl being attacked as she looked out her window.”

Last year, the Court of Appeals ruled that pit bulls are “inherently dangerous than other dogs,” and even though a bill was created by animal experts and advocates to overturn this ruling, perhaps this ruling should stay put. However, this ruling DOES mean that the toddler’s parents may face charges for their child's death (as of Wednesday night, it was “unclear” if any would be filed).

Should the parents of this little girl be held accountable for their pets’ actions?

Animal experts and advocates think the court system overstepped authority because science doesn’t seem to support that pit bulls are “inherently dangerous,” which implies they’re, “through genetics or their environment, born with a vicious streak.”

Personally, I think all pet owners should be liable for their pets’ attacks, regardless of their pets' breeds. But you don’t see many headlines reading “Golden Retriever Kills Child” or “Poodle Goes on Neighborhood Biting Spree”!!!

(Disclaimer: Perhaps you've read a news report about killer golden retrievers and feral poodles, but I haven’t. So before you bark at me for my dislike of biting breeds, know that I’m sure there are a few pit bulls in this world that are totally cute, cuddly, and nice. But I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the pit bulls that aren’t so cuddly and nice, because they kill 18-month-old girls.)

Seven dogs. Seven pit bulls and pit bull mixes! Come on “animal experts and advocates”! Why do you want to overturn a ruling that makes owners liable when their pit bulls bite or attack? Some pit bulls are bred exclusively for fighting! (Hello, Michael Vick!)

What do you think?

Toddler Killed by Family Dogs

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

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140 comments

  1. Profile photo of Olivia Olivia says:

    This is a very biased article. Did you know that pit bulls were once considered “nanny dogs”? ANY dog can be vicious, and yes pit bulls can cause more damage because of their strength. The point is, it is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to (1) properly supervise their child (2) properly raise/train/socialize their pets in case the child accidentally is alone with them. And I have a story for you…my co-worker’s labrador retriever bit his son in the face which caused him to get stitches and the child now has a scar from his nose to his chin. Why that didn’t make the news? I don’t know. But I have a 15yr old pit bull who has NEVER once showed any signs of aggression. I am even considering getting her certified as a service dogs to visit patients in hospitals. It’s articles like this that discredit all the hard work we responsible pit bull owners put into changing the perception of these incredible dogs.

  2. Profile photo of haleigh haleigh says:

    This post is absolutely ignorant. If you have any breed or mix of breeds outside in a PACK of seven ofncourse they are going to go back to their natural instincts. This is a fact of a careless guardian not watching a young child, not a vicious pitbull.l

  3. Profile photo of Sarah Sarah says:

    i was horrified to read this story but i agree that it was written with ignorance. Pit bulls make wonderful family dogs but as with all animals and humans, we don’t always behave the way we should and sometimes act out….animals are no different no matter the breed! as parents we should be aware that things can happen and not allow our children to be left alone. I am a mother of two older boys and a newborn baby girl… I also have 5 large mixed breed dogs, two are part pit bull and i love them to death but my husband and I never leave our baby alone with them ever! As responsible pet owners, we also make sure we are the leader of the pack and not all dogs are allowed outside at one time because it is their natural instinct to pack and thus we help protect our children and our beloved pets. pet owners are “inherently dangerous” when they don”t understand their animals, dogs will do as dogs do, we make them friendly or dangerous.

  4. Profile photo of Rachel Rachel says:

    This story is an extremely sad one. My heart goes out to the family. We are jaded by our own experiences. So, this is my thinking.
    I love dogs. Pits, hotties, labs, all kinds.I used to be a dog owner. I still love them, but now that I have three kids, I won’t be having one…at least til they are much older. My oldest daughter was three when she was attacked by my step dad’s yellow lab. Yup, a Lab. All I can say is, if my step dad wasn’t right there, and throwing the huge dog off my daughter, we’d be missing her today. It was the worst day of my life. Pregnant with my second. My daughter was spending the day with her papa, when my husband and I got the phone call to go to the hospital. Thank God she was alive. Had to have 60+ stitches on her face. But I thank God my step dad was right there when it happened.

  5. Profile photo of kelsey kelsey says:

    This whole post it’s so incredibly ignorant… any dog can be a bad dog. Pit bulls were once considered the “nanny” dog because they are so devoted to and protective of children. There are far more people to blame for being terrible dog owners than there are dogs to blame for just being bad dogs… and breed specific legislation is never the answer. Seriously, lady… educate yourself and don’t be so prejudiced because of biased things you’ve read.

  6. Profile photo of jenelle jenelle says:

    I really don’t think this had much to do with the fact that these dogs were pit bulls or pit bull mixes. Any family pet of any breed can pose a danger to a young child, even the sweetest of dogs. First of all from the article it sounds like this child was ALONE outside, obviously being far too young to be alone anywhere, and that the person supposedly watching her was ASLEEP. So the first real question is why is the person watching the child inside sleeping instead of having someone watching. Another thing is that I find 7 dogs(of any kind) to be a large number of dogs to have at one time. It seems to me that this was just an accident waiting to happen.

  7. Profile photo of Autumn Autumn says:

    The focus should be that what happened was because the person in charge of the poor baby, was negligent, not because the dogs just happen to be pit bulls. I am sorry that the baby lost her life, but this is another unfair story meant to turn people against the breed when in fact, any dog can dangerous. People need to be educated with non biased info

  8. Profile photo of nancy nancy says:

    Yes…I agree…why 7 dogs? That was a disaster just waiting to happen…. And who leaves a baby out in the backyard alone with 7 dogs and Grandma in the nouse sleeping! What is wrong with these people? Cant blame dogs, blame the people that own them! Poor kid and poor dogs too!

  9. Profile photo of Maranda Maranda says:

    This family should not have 7 dogs. Period.

  10. Profile photo of betsye betsye says:

    The headline should read, “18 month old dies outside alone while grand,other sleeps inside”. That woman would never watch my child again, and she should absolutely be held accountable. We have a pit lab mix that loves to cuddle and nap with my 21 montj old, and despite being best buddies, i would never leave them alone because she may decide to try his patience, or anything else could happen. Seven dogs could have gotten in a fight amongst themselves and she could have gotten lost in the shuffle, but its a moot point because you NEVER let a toddler play OUTDOORS ALONE while you SLEEP INSIDE? dogs oe not. Incorrigible, irrisponsible, and disgusting. Shame on her, and i feel awful for the family.

  11. Profile photo of Regina Regina says:

    First with that many dogs there is bound to be a fight no matter what kind. As for the grandma she should of been awake and had all the doors locked so the child couldn’t get into the dogs part of the yard. With that many dogs no matter what kind they are there is bound to be something going on and it’s not healthy for any child to be unattended with dogs. I have one dog a pit mix and she is very protective of the children and would never do anything to hurt them. But when you have that many dogs caged up and not around the child then you get hostel animals. First why have that many dogs. I blame the grandparent for falling asleep and the parents for not having better safety away from the animals. Have extra locks on doors cause kids do get out and yes I have four kids and one on the way and this dog here has grown up with all of them always lays on my tummy and she always knows when somethings wrong and she’s the first at their bedroom door if they cry to go in and make sure they are ok. It’s all in how a dog is raised if you treat them like a caged animal then they will act like a caged animal if you treat them like family then that’s what they are. So sorry the 18 month lost her life it’s very tragic in how it happened.

  12. Profile photo of Amanda Amanda says:

    In my case it’s “I’m pregnant” I was on birth control just in case even though my dr said I couldn’t get pregnant. Against all odds I did and had no idea for 4 months. In all of that time the father crashed us into a tree going 80 mph shattered my femur so they had to put a steel rod in it which will be there my whole life. Left me for his ex girlfriend. Then I found out that I was pregnant the whole time. I couldn’t walk and still did everything myself. And I still do but at least I can walk now. My daughter is 3 months old now and she is perfectly healthy. My little miracle! He has only seen her once after she was born and now has his current girlfriend pregnant. So for me “we’re pregnant” hits a nerve. But we’re expecting would be a way for him to feel included if he wanted to be. He’s not pregnant though, it’s unnatural… But either way I did just fine through pregnancy by myself, even still healing from the accident.

  13. Profile photo of Aliyah Aliyah says:

    It’s so saddening that an 18 month old baby girl lost her life in such a horrific awful tragedy and at such a young age. The few questions that ran across my mind were why was the child in the yard alone with 7 dogs? And why would the person who was responsible for the child asleep? Also I don’t think pitbulls are inherently dangerous. I honestly think it’s just the owners and the way that they are raised. I’m not giving sympathy for the pitbulls but I don’t think it’s fair that all pitbulls should now be considered “inherently dangerous” .. turn your heads to the owners.

  14. Profile photo of heather heather says:

    I like the Michael Vick comment at the end, since some of his dogs have gone on to be therapy dogs, advocates, and beloved household pets. I work with dogs and know that all dogs, just like all people, have different personalities. I’m sure your the same woman who would get upset about someone saying “black people are thieves, its been bred into them over time” but that’s what you’re saying with this article. Clearly the people who allowed their 18 month old to play COMPLETELY UNATTENDED outside with any dogs of any breed shows their incompetence, what makes you think they raised these dogs right? On top of that, no one knows what the kid was doing before being attacked… Was she kicking the dogs? Trying to put things up their noses? Trying to ride them or bouncing on them? Now, if any of these things happened to you, you can simply grab the child, talk to the child, ect… The dog doesn’t have these options. They deal with it until they can’t anymore and they snap. Then pack mentality and instincts can and often do take over EVERY aspect of even the most friendly dogs. I have seen golden retrievers, poodles, labs, pugs, terriers, and many many more bite both people and other dogs. There’s really no saying what ANY dog will do when put in a dangerous or painful position.. The real point here should be DON’T LEAVE KIDS ALONE WITH DOGS, especially when there’s multiple dogs!!!

    • Profile photo of ovation ovation says:

      Thank you Heather! I am a registered veterinary technician. Any dog can become vicious. All the pits my office sees will lick you to death before biting you. I’ve seen nastier labs and lab mixes. My friends boxer is the sweetest dog ever and they have 3 very active kids. But when the bring her to the vet watch out. It depends on how the owner treats or raises them and the dogs personality. Kids should never be left alone with dogs. My 1st thought too was why was this toddler left unsupervised with 7 good size dogs. Most people know their dogs well enough to either be ok with kids or not. Even then it should be supervised. Some breeds are better than others with kids. Do your homework and use common sense!

  15. Profile photo of Schazaura Schazaura says:

    Honestly, it is how you raise the dogs. Any type of dog can be vicious and cruel. Besides, have you ever met a poodle? Those dogs are stuck-up and mean as heck!

  16. Profile photo of Kati says:

    This article is completely biased. Have you ever owned a pit or a pit mix? If you haven’t then I suggest you step back and do more research before writing an article this ignorant. First off why was the child alone with the dogs and why on earth did they have SEVEN?! This is definitely a situation where the owners should be held responsible. As a matter of fact I have read a few articles where a cane corso has attacked and killed as well as a lab…also a Japanese breed mauled a six month old. The reason you see articles flashing a pit attack is because people like you who insist on marking them as evil vicious dogs without any real experience in owning them. I own a pit mix and let me just say she allows my seven year old to lock her up in her big cage with her while she paints her nails and tries to put makeup on her…she loves children and the most she has ever done is lick people to death. So do yourself a favor and know that ALL dogs…regardless of breed can be snappy or even turn on their owners.

    • Profile photo of Diana Diana says:

      I completely agree, whole heartedly. Singling out 1 breed of dog is like singling out 1 race of humans. There is always going to be good and evil, it depends on the one person or pup, not the race or breed. Open your minds people, just because they are dogs doesn’t mean it’s not a form of racism. Dogs: Grey hounds, bulldogs, poodles, Rottweiler, pit bulls. Humans: (which most are sub divided into make kinds; Example: Asian: Japanese, Chinese, Korean etc) Caucasians, African Americans, Native Americans, Asians. My point being is humans need to wake up and stop being so ignorant as to believing we are the only living beings on this planet that have the right in decision making over every other living creatures. And it’s insanity that if a man or woman kills a child, they get sent to prison possibly on death row, where they live out their lives. And we as citizens have to pay to feed them and keep them alive in there. Isn’t our government and ignorant “people” just Grand. Where as a dog kills a child, it gets put down no questions asked. Wow! Really! Ask yourself how that’s right?

  17. Profile photo of Marcia Marcia says:

    I really think its unfair to blame the dogs because any dog can bite or kill a child they dont reason like humans do or are supposed to anyways …..i own a pitbull and a chihuahua they are both the sweetest things ever and my pitbull is very caring with my 2 daughters wich one of then is 20 months old we are carefull that shes never alone with the dogs but because accidents do happen and they can drop he,r push her, or u never know maybe even bite her .I love my dogs and we have raised them to be caring loving pets so i dont consider it should be blamed on the dogs because of their breed or anything its the parents and family that need to watch and make sure the kids are safe .

  18. Profile photo of cour cour says:

    This is literally the first comment I have ever left on an article like this. Something about the ignorance the author seems to have about dogs in general just plainly annoyed me enough to make an account and do it. Really, I just hope that this article hasn’t tainted the mind of some of it’s readers into believing the horrible misconception that pitbull terriers are “inherently” vicious. It just makes me so sad because this is an absolutely beautiful, intelligent breed that should be treated as such.

  19. Profile photo of aliza aliza says:

    I have a pit bull cross breed and also a dog that was bred from a pigging background and a mastiff x.. not one of them have showed any vicious behaviour towards my kids, my kids can beat the shit out of them (they are not allowed to but just saying) and my dogs just push them away and move somewhere else. Dogs need to be taught at a young age where they belong in the family n when you have a baby u don’t stop them from being involved or change ur activities that u do with ur animals.. a toddler should ALWAYS be watched in a backyard with any animal especially with 7 bloody dogs, anything could have happened, animals don’t respond like humans.. the baby could have hurt one of the dogs or taken food or tmade the animals feel threatened and as they r pack animals they would have “protected” each other in a group… I have heard plenty of stories of great Danes, dalmations, and other breeds NOT JUST THE PIT BULL BREED attach babies out of jealousy.. pit bulls need alot of attention like alot of dogs like their breed, their owners need to show love affection and be stern with them, we grew up with pit bulls and other “dangerous” dog breeds and they knew exactly where kn the family they belong n they knew where their loyalties lye… My dogs know that the children r more important to them so they either protect them or leave, but bcos we are loyal n loving to our animals they shown it back… Yes the parents or whoever owned the dogs should be held accountable..

  20. Profile photo of tamie tamie says:

    where were the parents while that poor baby was being torn to bits and any breed of dog can be a biter

  21. Leaving your 18-month old alone with 7 dogs, no matter the breed is just freaking INSANE!! I personally have owned MANY pit bulls. Every one of them have been great around children and other animals. I currently have a rescued fighting pit bull and she is the sweetest thing to my 2 daughters (ages 14 months and 2 months). I think what had happened was, one dog went crazy and pack instinct kicked into overdrive and they all attacked. I have seen it time and time again. A friend of mine had a large brew of varying breeds (none of which were pit bulls) and one attacked my friends neighbor and that caused all of the others to do the same!

  22. Profile photo of Rebekkah Rebekkah says:

    Any animal can go from cute and cuddly to ferocious. What did the little girl do to set them off or did she get in the middle of a fight between a couple of them. My questions are, SEVEN dogs? That baby girl was left ALONE outside with seven dogs? Dogs get excited and I’d just be scared they could potentially knock the girl over and she hit her head. Or she’s playing and they get rough and bite her. This is a tragedy on its own but it was highly irresponsible to let that little girl go outside by herself with all those dogs. What they did was horrible but just the potential of a simple running into her and knocking her down is enough of a reason not to leave her by herself.

  23. Profile photo of Pete+Britt Pete+Britt says:

    Should the parent(s) and Grandparent be held responsible, 100% yes. I am a huge animal lover and have owned pit bulls in the past as well as other breeds and my pit bulls have by far been the most tame out of all of them. Its not the dog that is dangerous but the way it is raised. Pit bulls are actually great family dogs especially around little ones as they will look after them and guard them like their own. Again though it all depends on how the dog is raised. My question(s) for the family of the little girl is why was an 18 month old outside alone? What happened that set the dogs off? Did she do something that the dogs did not like (yank an ear, bite at them) Who knows. What ever the answers are it was an awful incident and my condolences go out towards the family. But please do not blame the breed of the dog. Pits have gotten a bad name because of people using them to fight. If raised in a loving home they ca be some of the sweetest dogs ever.

  24. Profile photo of mary mary says:

    I babysit pitbulls and loved them and they were the sweest until they ATTACKED!!! It is in their nature and i believe the parent should be held responsible for the poor babies death because yes pitbulls are dangerous thay can be awesome and in the next minute turn, it happens people dont be so closed to the world!! i agree with your article kudos

  25. Profile photo of animelovervt animelovervt says:

    All dogs can bite and children, especially very young ones, can very easily illicit a prey drive or fear response with their unpredictable movements, high pitched voices, and inability to read a dog’s warning signals. Adults aren’t even very good at picking on most signals that a dog is getting to the point of biting… we’re treating dogs like children and forgetting that they still have their dog instincts and behavior. It is a parent’s fault for not monitoring the interaction, teaching both dog and child proper respect and boundaries. Blaming the dog is not the solution, regardless of breed !

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