Posts from the ‘Denial of Dog Owner’s Responsibility’ Category

“Use them as pillows”

After the horrific dog mauling death of 21-month old Monica Laminack by her family’s seven pit bulls, relatives told investigators that the toddler often played with the dogs and would “use them as pillows” while watching TV. Google Search results show that Laminack’s relatives are not unique. The term, “use them as pillows,” yet another disturbing pit bull myth rife with dangerous propaganda, is spread across the Internet by numerous Nutters (See related myth: Nanny dog). Authorities anticipate charges against the adults who were home “napping” while the seven pit bulls tore little Monica apart.

He said relatives insisted the toddler would play with the dogs and even “use them as pillows while watching TV.” – Nutter family
keep the dog ditch the husband he sounds paranoid i have pit bulls and when my grandchildren come over they use them as pillows to watch tv – Karen B
I think its awesome how most of these points to ban the breed are based on social stigma and not personal experience. I love my loyal loving cuddling friendly pit bulls. They let kids pull their ears, ride their backs, use them as pillows. – Anna Jones
Who does this cowhead think he is? Pit bulls r the most sweetest, kindest, & the most gentlest breed of dog there is. Wut other dog breed would just lay there & let children climb all over them & let a person use them as pillows without attacking. – Teresa Cornwall
Same. I used to have 2 pits. They were the sweetest dogs ever. They let u use them as pillows! – ElviraTepes
Blame the deed not the breed! There is no such thing ad a bad dog only bad owner. I own 5 pitbulls and 1 American bulldog and they all let my children jump on them pull tails pull ears (yes I discurrge my children from doing so) they even let my children use them as pillows. – Tipsy
ANY DOG CAN ATTACK … these dogs are the most LOYAL nad protective that I have ever owned … my 8 stay inside at night and are outside at least 6hrs a day,they sit in the floor when we watch a movie or the kids will use them as pillows while watching T.V – luv my pit bull
My aunt has owned three pits, and when she went on vacation, we would watch them. I used to use them as pillows when I was younger, and they had no problem with it. – FlyersEnforcer
The APBT’s in our family were always like having a nanny around we could ride them and use them as pillows to take a nap with and when outside playing they were always right with us on guard protecting us – sw_df27

After publishing this post, a user sent in the below information to show that pillows aren’t always innocent fluffy objects used to lay your head upon. Pillows, however, do not kill people spontaneously, without specific direction from those who use them.

  • Daily World, The (Aberdeen, WA) – March 27, 2013 — Man says he ‘committed a father’s worst sin,’ pleads not guilty to shooting — Michael League called 911 early Sunday to report he’d “committed a father’s worst sin,” authorities said.League, 69, told police he took his .22-caliber Ruger pistol and shot his adult son and daughter in the head as they slept in his Puyallup home, court records show.He allegedly used a pillow to muffle the sound of the gunshots so as not to wake his wife and two young grandsons, who also were asleep in the house.
  • Clear Creek Courant (Idaho Springs, CO) – December 5, 2012 — Investigator: Elmgreen confessed to killing father,  Judge finds probable cause at preliminary hearing — During a preliminary hearing in Jefferson County Court on Nov. 30, a homicide investigator testified that defendant Kenneth Elmgreen admitted to killing his elderly father and then attempting suicide.Evergreen resident Elmgreen, 53, was arrested in early August on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree arson and two counts of crimes of violence.Last Friday, Jeffco sheriff’s Investigator Kathleen Battan testified that Elmgreen said he used a pillow.
  • Bismarck Tribune, The (ND) – October 3, 2012 — ND murder suspect scheduled to change plea — DICKINSON (AP) – Trial has been canceled and a change-of-plea hearing scheduled for a North Dakota man accused of killing the mother of a child he believed was his daughter.Dirk Huber of Belfield had pleaded not guilty to murdering Nicole Radebaugh in her apartment bedroom in August 2011. He was scheduled for trial beginning Oct. 15. Court documents show that he will appear in court to change his plea instead.Authorities allege that Huber used a pillow to suffocate Radebaugh.
  • San Francisco Chronicle (CA) – July 20, 2012 — Woman charged with murder – Bible possibly a weapon — A woman smothered a romantic rival with a pillow and beat her – possibly with a Bible – while chanting religious passages as part of what she called an exorcism, a prosecutor said Thursday. Karla Kuhl, 35, of El Sobrante has been charged with murdering 58-year-old Patricia Medeiros, said Contra Costa County prosecutor Harold Jewett.Sheriff’s deputies responding to an early morning medical call on June 5 found Medeiros dead in her home.
  • Herald-Dispatch, The (Huntington, WV) – February 8, 2012 — Man accused of trying to kill daughter, Father allegedly used pillow in an attempt to suffocate girl, 11 months old — HUNTINGTON — A local man found himself behind bars Tuesday, charged with trying to kill his infant daughter.Authorities charged Larry James Thomas, 40, with felony attempted first-degree murder, along with misdemeanor domestic battery and carrying a concealed weapon without a license. Criminal complaints describe Thomas as a convicted felon wanted out of Boyd County, Ky.The incident with Thomas’ 11-month-old daughter happened just after 11 p.m. Monday.
  • Dickinson Press (ND) – November 8, 2011 — Officer: Pillow used to suffocate Radebaugh; Huber pleads not guilty to Belfield homicide — Nov. 08–Dirk J. Huber is believed to have used a pillow to kill his former girlfriend after allegedly arguing over the paternity of her daughter, officials said during his pretrial conference in Dickinson on Monday. The 41-year-old pleaded not guilty Monday to murdering Nicole Lynn Radebaugh, 39, by suffocating her in her Belfield apartment in August.
  • Associated Press Archive – September 14, 2010 — UK reporter sentenced for fake mercy killing claim
    A veteran British TV reporter has been sentenced after he admitted making up claims he killed a former lover who was dying of AIDS. A judge gave BBC journalist Ray Gosling a 90-day suspended prison sentence for fabricating his confession and wasting 1,800 hours of police time.The 70-year-old Gosling drew media and police attention in February when he said on a BBC TV documentary that he used a pillow to smother his dying lover in his hospital bed.
  • Grand Rapids Press, The (MI) – January 13, 2009 — Life sentence ‘what I deserve’ — GRAND RAPIDS — Against the advice of his lawyer, 41-year-old Andrew Neal pleaded guilty Monday and accepted a lifetime in prison for murdering a woman he called his close friend. “It’s what I deserve, your honor. There is no excuse,” Neal told Kent County Circuit Judge Paul Sullivan after admitting he used a pillow to suffocate Mashonda Griffin, 35, in her Wyoming home, at 2940 Union Ave. SE, on Oct. 27.

“Unfortunate accident”

Like the terms freak accident and tragic accident used by pit bull owners to deny responsibility after a violent or deadly attack, “unfortunate accident” was recently voiced by Adam Pollack, who runs a pit bull breeding operation from his home, after his three leashed pit bulls attacked a 9-year old boy. The attack occurred as the boy and his mother, Jessyca Petell, were walking into the entrance of a multi-family home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Petell said when her son opened the door, “the dogs burst out, dragging him down the steps and continuing a ‘violent, relentless and ruthless’ attack.” The dogs inflicted 35 puncture wounds and a 3-by-3 inch section of the boy’s scalp was torn off.

In 2007, after a felony-filled domestic incident, Adam Pollack was allegedly attacked by one of his pit bulls. He told police officers then, “You guys better shoot that dog or I will.” So the officers shot the pit bull to death. Pollack is currently appealing the order of Pittsfield Police Chief Michael J. Wynn that deems his three current pit bulls vicious after attacking the 9-year old boy. (Owners of pit bulls who are attacked by their dog routinely order officers to shoot it. When their dog attacks an innocent person, pit bull owners like Adam Pollack routinely go through the appeals process to get their maulers back. Notably, while in quarantine after the attack, one of Pollack’s pit bulls had a litter of puppies).

An unfortunate “accident” indicates an “unforeseeable event not caused by misconduct or negligence” yet in this case, Pollack couldn’t even hold onto the dogs’ leashes allowing his animals to violently attack. Pollack blamed his loss of control over his dogs because the little boy “flung open” the door, spooking the dogs. What is unfortunate is that no matter what a judge decides in the upcoming appeals hearing, Pollack still has a round of new pit bull puppies coming back to his home. What is unfortunate is that new victims of Pollack’s pit bulls lie on the horizon. And finally, what is indeed unfortunate is that Pollack is “prime material” to file bankruptcy if sued by the victim’s family to escape liability.

If Pollack is a renter, however, the boy’s family may have hope.

The owners of three pit bulls implicated in the injury of a 9-year-old boy say they feel terrible about the attack, which they characterize as “an unfortunate accident.” – Adam Pollack
Griggs reiterated that the attack was the result of “a bad decision” … “This was an unfortunate accident.” During the trial which lasted four days, DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston portrayed Vaughn as a negligent dog owner. “An accident didn’t happen on March 9, 2010,” Boston said. “A vicious dog attack that was avoidable happened on March 9, 2010,” – Solicitor General Sherry Boston
Owners of a pit bull in Cheyenne have surrendered their pet to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter after it attacked a 10-year-old neighbor a second time within a year. The dog’s co-owner Duane Padilla said Monday it was an “unfortunate accident.” – Duane Padilla
We spoke with the dog’s caretaker, who says she’s being harassed by people through phone calls and emails, calling her a bad mother for keeping a violent dog when she has small children … The dog belonged to her ex-boyfriend and was never fully socialized, she calls it an unfortunate accident. – Caretaker of pit bull
DEXTER CLARK says it was an unfortunate accident in one breath and in another acknowledges that he is the only one who can control the beast and still another implies the victim did something to provoke dog. – Dexter Clark
As stated before, even though unintentional, you entered the other dog’s territory when you entered their room. They protected their owners just as any dog who is worth it’s salt would do… including yours. Neither you, the hotel nor the dogs were at fault. It was an unfortunate accident  – Richie H
Best quote from the comments section of the article: “This is an unfortunate accident, but it could have been any breed of dog. I agree that owners of dogs have a responsibility to train and maintain control of a dog on a leash. However, I also believe that runners and cyclist need have a responsibility for their own safety when they approach a person walking a dog.” – Blogger commenting on Nutter comment
I agree it is an unfortunate accident but the people who own those pit bulls r my aunt and uncle. Those dogs have always been the most loving and well behaved dogs. They have had many pit bulls in over 25 years and have never ran I to any problems. – rbkirtiely

“Raised the dog from a puppy”

To evade responsibility after a biting incident, a pit bull owner may say, “I raised the dog from a puppy.” It’s similar to another Maul Talk term, “The dog has never shown aggression before.” Both try to persuade authorities that the dog owner could never have known his dog would attack. The puppy term has added meaning. Pit bulls do not reach maturity until 1.5 to 2 years old. It is at this time when the breed’s aggressive traits kick in. This is also the average age of pit bulls surrendered to shelters by their owners.

The father said he and his family are grieving over the tremendous loss of their child. The father said the family raised the pit bull since it was a puppy and that the dog never showed any signs of aggression toward anyone in their family. – Mark Valentin
Wallis says his neighbor hasn’t apologized for the attack or said anything to him since it happened April 22…When reached by telephone, Hayes declined to comment and hung up. She told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram she had raised the pit bulls since they were puppies and considered them good, lovable pets. – Nancy Hayes
The dog was 5-years old and had been raised by the victim’s father since it was a puppy. In a press conference following the attack, the victim’s uncle, Terrence Lovejoy, urged parents to “get rid” of pit bulls. He also stated that the dog “didn’t growl, didn’t bark,” just walked over and grabbed the child. He described the incident as “a sneak attack on my nephew.” –

“Dog was never beaten”

Sometimes a pit bull owner will say that his dog was “never beaten” or “neglected” after the animal seriously injures or kills a person. The terms are designed to absolve the dog owner from any responsibility and to counter pit bull factions who argue that pit bulls only attack when the owner has beaten or neglected them. This is an interesting position for a pit bull owner to be in. Once part of the pit bull community, this owner now must fight against pit bull factions who are calling him an abuser in order to protect the breed.

The father said he had raised the dog since the day it was born, and he said it was a very nice and loving dog who was never beaten. – WJXT (Mark Valentin)
Erb described the six pit bulls as “house dogs” that were well cared for and even microchipped for identification. “They were spoiled rotten,” Erb said. “They were not neglected in any way.” – Barbara Erb

“Never shown aggression before”

After a serious of fatal pit bull mauling, the dog’s owner will often say, the dog has “never shown aggression before” to absolve himself from responsibility. After the death of a 3-day old baby, for instance, who was killed by the family’s pit bull, the baby’s father, Mark Valentin, not only used this phrase but another one employed by culpable pit bull owners, “raised the dog from a puppy.” At the time, Valentin was being investigated for child neglect. It must also be noted that Valentin undoubtably promoted the Nanny dog myth before his pit bull — described to the media as “very loving” — killed his son.

The father said that the family “raised the pit bull since it was a puppy” and that the dog “never showed any signs of aggression” towards anyone in their family. The day that police and child protection agencies stop honoring these cliche excuses from pit bull owners, is the day that children will championed instead of buried. –
The father said the family raised the pit bull since it was a puppy and that the dog never showed any signs of aggression toward anyone in their family. – Mark Valentin
Valentin said that the dog never showed any signs of aggression toward anyone in their family, adding that his 4-year-old son “has never had any problems with this dog.” The father said he had raised the dog since the day it was born, and he said it was a very nice and loving dog who was never beaten. – Mark Valentin

“It’s in God’s hands”

After Tonya Holland’s pit bull mixes mauled and permanently disfigured 5-year old Winston Bankston in Bush Il., she turned to her Facebook page, and after asking her friends to pray for her, she excuses her negligence by suggesting that her choice to keep dangerous dogs and allow them to run free was part of God’s plan.  Not only is she completely absolving herself of any responsibility or culpability for a horrific mauling, she is actually suggesting she is an instrument of God. (See more at Craven Desires).

…you know I watch the news and read comments since this has happen and I really set back a really look. You know what I see fear, life, death, and think why don’t they see life isn’t perfect and everything happens for a reason and purpose. and just think of themselfs has blessed instand of arguing over animals. Because their are billions of wild life. You know if we could control everything we would. You know everyone feels bad on what happen. You see these boards members arguing and they may not even be here tomarro. Besides that little boy is going to make it.  The next one might not. wheather bye cancer, brain trauma, car wrecks. They have to realize god knew it was going to happen. we live in a curse life. They don’t read the word. – Tonya

Along similar lines of completely absolving oneself of any culpability after a brutal mauling, a Google News Archive search for God pit bull attack brought up an interesting 1997 result. After Tommy Halcomb’s four pit bulls nearly killed Lois Moore in Texas, Halcomb said, “They were good dogs, I can’t believe it happened, but it did and I’m going to have to deal with it. I got to try to understand this. I just have to put this in God’s hands now.” He also denied reports by neighbors that his dogs had menaced other people.


The term “somehow” is often used after a devastating pit bull mauling because police officials and the media have no other way to describe the incident or the term is used to help magically “explain away” the dog owner’s responsibility. For instance, the pit bull somehow managed to slip its collar. The pit bull somehow managed to escape its owner’s yard. The pit bull then, not so magically, seriously injured or killed a human being.

During the visit, the [pit bulls] were put into another room, but somehow got out and found the child laying on the floor on a blanket in another room [and killed the child] – New Haven Register
She found her son being attacked by the dog that had somehow managed to get off of a chain and grab the child. Despite being rushed to the hospital, Kaden died due to the massive injuries sustained in the attack. –
Officers were told that the pit bulls somehow escaped from a fenced-in yard of Shawn Middleton. They ripped the shoes and jacket off Bates, biting him in the face and feet. – Indianapolis police
Police say they will continue to investigate, but it appears the attack was accidental. “We’re exploring the possibility the dogs were supposed to be in backyard but somehow got into the home.” – Leesburg Police
Florence police say a 7-year-old girl was at a neighbor’s house on Charles Street Thursday afternoon when a pitbull attacked her. According to officers, the dog somehow broke loose from it’s collar before it attacked… – Florence Police
Police said a pitbull somehow got loose and attacked the woman. “The pitbull had been chained in the yard and the dog pulled a stake out of the ground and attacked the 40-year-old victim.” – Det. Sgt. Carl Gulas
Destiny Knox was attacked [and mauled to death] when the dog, normally kept chained, somehow got loose and ran inside the house. – WMC-TV

“Freak accident”

Owners of pit bulls often say after a serious or fatal pit bull attack that it was a “freak accident”. Google News Archives shows clear results of this when typing in the terms: freak accident pit bull. The term has been in continuous use by pit bull owners since 1985, after Wally Robert’s pit bull, named Napoleon, killed Deborah Pernell while she slept. The phrase is a complete denial of responsibility. Such occurrences are neither freak nor accidental when involving pit bulls. The fact that parents of victimized children and police authorities 25-years later still call such attacks “freak accidents” is regrettable and untrue.

“Dexter had no history of biting and we feel this was a freak accident.” – Annie Hornish, the Connecticut Senior State Director of the Humane Society of the United States, after her own pit bull killed a woman.
“We are all traumatized with this freak accident and are praying for Adrieanna and her family” – The Herald Family
It was a freak accident,” she said. The woman, who asked not to be named, said her children have played with the same dog at the Duck Hill Springs home many times before, adding that the dog owner “didn’t raise the dog to be mean or vicious.” – Unnamed neighbor
Rodriguez told the responding officer she had warned Edward Cahill to euthanize the dog, because the dog was violent and unpredictable. But today she says that is not true. –snip — “I don’t want people to think bad of pit bulls,” Rodriguez said. “It was a freak accident. He loved those dogs.” – Blanca Rodriguez
“I think what happened is that she had a ponytail and she reached down to get something and one of the dogs said…” — snip — Klemetti maintains that the dogs had never hurt people before and that the attack was a “freak incident.” – Steve Klemetti
A day after the family’s pit bull fatally attacked his pregnant wife, Greg Napora said Friday he doesn’t blame the dog. He even plans to bury his spouse, Darla, with their pet’s cremated remains in her casket.” –snip– “Whatever happened right now was not the breed’s fault” –snip– “It was just a freak accident.” – Greg Napora
Cook was bitten on his arms, neck, stomach, and leg. Nicholas Michael [Cook] can’t make sense of the attack. “I didn’t train him to fight or nothing, this was a freak accident,” he said. – Nicholas Michael [Cook]
It was a freak accident. It could have happen to anybody she’s [the neighbor] got three kids of her own. It could have happened to one of hers.” – April Sumrall
Hours before being mauled to death by the family pit bull, 12-year- old Nicholas Faibish had been told to stay in the basement … Maureen Faibish, who called The Chronicle on Saturday, trying to make sense of what she called a “freak accident.” – Maureen Faibish
It was just a freak accident that it got loose and went over there and attacked her dog,” says Vincent. “It’s not like Bella did it on purpose. – Jessica Vincent
“She could have bled to death,” he said. “The whole thing was just a freak accident, but what we couldn’t believe was how long it took for the medics to get here.” – John Ogden
Kenneth Smith, the child’s father, called it a “freak accident.” The animal had been chained to a tree but broke loose and lunged through a hole in the yard fence, he said. – Kenneth Smith
Agerson said her dog was friendly, and she was shocked by his action. She said he’s been destroyed … “It was a tragedy — a freak accident,” Agerson said – Tina Agerson

The following is a “real” freak accident:

Woman killed in freak New York lift crush
A woman died in a New York City office building after lift doors dragged her upwards and crushed her.
Officials say the woman, identified as advertising agency employee Suzanne Hart, was attempting to enter the lift when her foot or leg became caught.
The car then quickly rose, dragging her body into the shaft and killing her … The accident happened at 10:00 local time (15:00 GMT), officials said, but medics were unable to reach her body immediately because she became stuck between the first and second floors. BBC News, December 2011

“Tragic accident”

Owners of pit bulls frequently say after a serious or fatal pit bull attack that it was a “tragic accident”. Google News Archives shows clear results of this when typing in the terms: tragic accident pit bull. The term has been in continuous use by pit bull owners since the mid-1980’s. Given today (2010), this term is a complete denial of responsibility. Pit bulls have been maiming and killing individuals on a regular basis for nearly 30 years. While these continuous occurrences are tragic, they are certainly not accidental.

The victim’s brother-in-law said, “This dog has never shown any aggression before. It slept in the bed with them. They’ve had the dog four years, and it never ever showed anything like this. This is a tragic accident. – David Todd
In yet another instance of an infant killed by a family pit bull, law enforcement officials are wrongly calling this preventable death a “tragic accident.” Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley said, “These cases are very difficult, and obviously, it’s a very emotional topic. But sometimes … it’s just a tragic, tragic accident.” –
San Bernardino police called the incident a “tragic accident,” just as San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials did after a family pit bull killed 3-year old Omar Martinez in January. –
Mother shut boy in basement to protect him from pit bull / 12-year-old was killed by family dog; owner sees death as tragic accident but defends the breed as loving pets –
Wesley Barrentine is Wyno’s Stepfather-In-Law, he tells Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg that her death was just a freak accident. “I don’t know why it happened it’s just a tragic accident,” Barrentine said. – Wesley Barrentine
A woman has died as the result of an a pit bull attack, according to the Lowndes County Sheriff … The sheriff is calling the incident, ” a very tragic accident and vicious attack.” – Lowndes County Sheriff
The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office says it won’t pursue charges against a man whose pit bull mauled his 5-year-old nephew to death. Investigators say they found no signs of negligence. Sheriff Lupe Trevino told The Monitor in McAllen that the death appears to have been a tragic accident. – Sheriff Lupe Trevino