Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Biting more than the hand that feeds you

The police received a call about a body lying in front of a home and when they arrived at the Brentwood CA home of Ving Rhames, they knew it wasn't a hoax. On Aug 4 2007, they discovered the body of Jacob Adams, 40, lying in the front yard, covered with dog bites.

Adams worked as a caretaker and cared for the dogs on Rhames property, which included two homes. According to the detectives, it appears that the attack began on the eastside property. Adams then ran towards the other home and managed to close a gate behind him, keeping the dogs from him and then collapsed on the lawn of that home.

Police said that there were more than a half-dozen dogs on the property but that only four were found running loose when they arrived. Those four dogs were captured and are presently in quarentine until it can be determined which of them is responsible and what will be done with them. Police and neighbors have stated that there has been no prior reports of any aggression by the dogs there and they said that they have no idea right now, why the dogs may have turned on their caretaker.

"There's no doubt that he was attacked by the dogs. Whether or not the coroner can determine that the mauling actually caused the death, or the mauling contributed to him having a heart attack, that's a decision the coroner will have to determine," stated LAPD Lt Ray Lombardo.

The authorities have reported that they removed three massive bull mastiffs and a large English Bulldog and believe that only two of the dogs are responsible for the mauling. I am not sure if they are correct in their description of the English Bulldog because although they are a bit hefty for a dog, I wouldn't describe the breed as "large." They are a rather short, bow-legged, squat dog that is easily recognized by it's fat "ugly" face.

Bull mastiffs may well be an incorrect description of the other dogs involved in the mauling. The breed is known for being protective but is not large enough to fit the 200 lb description of the police. They also are not generally an agressive dog that attacks to protect, but rather, usually knocks down an intruder or blocks their entry with it's large body.

The two dogs involved in the fatal Jan 2001 mauling of Diane Whipple in San Fransico were also described as "bull mastiffs" in the early news reports. The two dogs involved then, with a combined weight of 233 lbs, dragged one of their owners, Marjorie Knoller down the hallway of her Pacific Heights apartment building and mauled Whipple as she frantically tried to get into her own apartment. It took her more than 5 minutes to drag the dogs off Whipple and lock them back into her apartment. Whipple died almost 5 hours after surgery to repair the deep bite wounds to her throat. Authorities announced later that the dogs weren't bull mastiffs but were in fact, Presa Canarios and both owners were jailed for their parts in the attack.

The Presa Canario is an extremely powerful dog from the breed descriptions and makes an "excellent" guard dog. It is said to be extremely loyal to it's family and will not hesitate to attack anyone it perceives as a threat, which is evidently what they may have thought when they mauled Diane Whipple.

Ving Rhames has stated in past interviews, that he owned approximately eight Fila Brasileiros, a Brazilian breed of guard dog. These are not bull mastiffs and are instead, a breed of dog that has such an instinctive aggression that their own breed standard calls for them not to be touched by the judge or disqualified from the ring for showing acceptable aggression towards a judge. It also states that few of the breed will attack for no reason but none will be that friendly to strangers.

Fila Brasileiros are one of only four breeds specifically illegal to own in the United Kingdom without having a court exemption from the "Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991." The restrictions placed on owners of those dogs with an exemption include, keeping them muzzled and leashed in public, be neutered and microchipped and they are required to be registered and insured.

When in a pack, almost any breed of dog, no matter how docile they are alone, can attack. Owning a breed of dog that it's own standard acknowledges is aggressive towards strangers is almost asking for trouble at some point in time. Unfortunately it seems, something triggered the aggression of Rhames's dogs and Jacob Adams ran for his life and it seems........ horribly lost.

Update: posted Aug 18

A preliminary coroner's report is in and it states that the dog bites and abrasions were most likely, non-fatal but the medical examiner would not state that they were not the reason for his death. They are awaiting toxicology tests that could take up to six weeks before making a more definative cause of death.

The preliminary reports states that most of the bites were localized around Adams legs and arms and they feel that the location of them and the lack of depth means there could be a different reason for his collapse.

Ving Rhames has finally made a public statement, saying that his condolances go out to Adam's family. He was out of the country on the day of the incedent. He has also reported that his dogs are back home after being seized by animal services.

1 comment:

Trout.Dude said...

i guess if you have a dog that kills that makes you a big man, a macho dude

i think ving should get 30 yrs, all dangerous dogs should be outlawed