Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 11:02am

Dog mauling charges


POSTED: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 5:18pm

UPDATED: Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 11:24am

A 2-year-old is dead, and a grandfather may be charged. But when a dog fatally attacks someone, what kind of charges can they face?

There have been several dog attacks in East Texas in the last couple of years, and most involved pit bulls.
But do the dogs pay the price for owner’s irresponsibility?

The job of the Rusk County Grand Jury is not going to be an easy one.

The death of 2-year-old Kaden Muckleroy involves at least two guilty parties. One is obvious. A pit bull tied to a tree in his grandfather’s yard mauled the toddler to death November 10th. It has been euthanized.

“The lady goes on TV and says that she has raised these animals like her own children,” says Longview attorney Kelly Heitkamp. “This is not a dog that sleeps in the bed every night with the children. This is not a dog that’s being hand fed. This is an animal chained to a tree. And if that doesn’t change an animal’s disposition, I don’t know what will.”

Pit bulls are responsible for anywhere from 47-62% of the fatal dog attacks in this country in the last 5 years.
But the grand jury has to decide on charges against the grandfather, Kelvin, who owned the dog along with over 30 others.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think much will happen,” Heitkamp said. “I think this is going to be a classic case of where the animals pay the price for the decisions made by humans. And this child has lost his life.”

Half of the animals confiscated were pit bull breeds and many were destroyed.

The family claims they were just accumulated over the years. Others suspect something else…

“You certainly don’t have 31 pets,” she scoffed. “It means either you’re probably not right in the head, or you’re breeding for profit, or you’re running a dog fighting ring. We’re a community. We have to participate together to help protect one another. We have this situation where somebody must have seen something. Someone must have heard something. You have 31 dogs and the neighbors don’t complain?”

The Rusk County Grand Jury will meet after the first of the year to look at charges based on the Sheriff’s investigation.

But absent a civil suit, the charges will likely involve variations on negligence or child endangerment.

“There’s clearly an issue out there, clearly an issue, and I certainly hope that CPS is on the scene investigating this. Because this is not simply a dog problem,” Heitkamp said. “This is a people problem. When you have children in this environment, it is the responsibility of the parents to see that that child is protected. And that did not happen here.”

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I am sorry but that guy should be charged with something, 31 dogs why do you need that many? And have that many around a child. The one question I would love to have answered is if that was a lab or anything other than a pit would we still kill it for what it did? People know the history of a pit so if you have one you have to keep constant eye on it when near children. But also you need to keep a eye on a 2 year old to.

I support a ban. It's overdue; children's safety outweighs the rights of the dog or the dog owners.

Amen, Kelly Heitkamp.

You are so right. In this tragic case there were over 30 victims: One little boy and 30 dogs. They all suffered and they all paid the ultimate price because the human adults did not care to supervise the child or treat the dogs with even the most basic care.

These dogs were NOT treated humanely, they suffered from medical issues and sat chained in the baking sun, day after day. To then expect these dogs to know how to behave with a 2-year-old is delusional.

Instead of banning pit bulls, can we ban stupid people instead?

Seriously, I don't think it would have mattered if there were 30 Labrador Retrievers out there instead of 30 Pit Bulls, you have that many dogs, you're going to have a few that are dangerous.

Can we have a law/code that keeps people from owning more than 10 dogs unless they have a breeder's license?

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