According to media reports late Thrusday, a Southern California man was arrested on a felony murder warrant stemming from the mauling death of a jogger by a pack of dogs earlier this month.
The warrant against Alex Jackson, 29, also charges him with owner negligence, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.
According to ABC:
Alex Jackson, 29, was taken into custody at his home and booked at the Palmdale sheriff’s station Thursday morning. His bail has been set at $1,050,000.
Pamela Devitt, 63, was mauled to death by a pack of pit bulls on May 9 as she was walking on 116th Street East and Avenue S. Detectives say a witness in a car saw four to five dogs brutally mauling the victim. The witness honked her horn to distract the animals, but they attacked her car and began biting her tires.
When a sheriff’s deputy responded, one dog was still there attacking the victim. The dog came after the deputy and fled when the deputy fired at the animal several times.
The investigation led detectives to Jackson’s home on the day of the attack. There were eight dogs at the home, and four of the dogs appeared to have blood on their coats and muzzles, deputies said.
An autopsy revealed that Devitt died from blood loss attributed to sharp force trauma. She sustained approximately 150 to 200 puncture wounds.
A DNA test of the blood on the pit bulls matched the victim’s blood.
Prosecutors say since January, authorities received at least three other reports of Jackson’s pit bulls attacking other people.
“I do not blame the dogs. I don’t blame pit bulls,” said Ben Devitt. husband of the dog pack murder victim. “I blame people who don’t take responsibility for their animals.”
More dogs, more bites
Seldom do dogs kill people in the United States: In 2012, 38 Americans died from dog attacks, a handful fewer than have died from lightning strikes.
But it is not unusual for dogs to use their teeth on people. Dogs bite about 4.5 million people in the U.S. each year, and nearly 900,000 of those, about half of them children, require medical care, the Centers for Disease Control says. More than 31,000 Americans needed reconstructive surgery after dogs attacked them in 2006, center figures show.
James Serpell, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society in Philadelphia, told the Wall Street Journal, the number of dog-bite cases is remarkably low, considering how closely humans and dogs live together.
“Frankly it’s a triumph that dogs don’t bite us more often than they do,” Serpell said. “Any dog will bite if you provoke it sufficiently, or if it’s in pain, it will defend itself. Potentially any dog will show predatory behavior, especially if it’s very, very hungry.”
Still, the statistics prove plenty of dogs bite the hand that feeds them. The CDC says adults with two or more dogs at home are five times more likely to get bitten than people with dog-free households. What gives?
Predatory behavior — hunting for food — is just one of many reasons canines, whether wild or housedogs, may attack people, experts say.
Spaying or neutering might help some dogs in some cases, such as reducing aggression toward other dogs, but won’t make much difference in predatory behavior such as pack attacks on humans, said Dr. Wayne Hunthausen, a veterinarian and director of animal behavior consultations at Westwood Animal Hospital in Westwood, Kan.
Dog bites also may be caused by medical problems; possessiveness over food and toys; fear aggression resulting from genetics or poor socialization; redirected aggression, such as when a dog fights with another dog and goes after a person who intervenes; and protection of territory from a stranger.
“Just because the dog sees you as a source of food doesn’t necessarily mean there’s any respect there,” said Hunthausen, a past president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.
In Georgia, a man living in the area where the Schweders were killed said he had fed the dogs and never had a problem with them. He didn’t believe they had killed the couple.
Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association who headed a task force on dog attacks, said it didn’t surprise her that the dogs hadn’t attacked that man but would go after the couple.
Many dogs, including packs, are fine with people feeding them, but if someone strange enters their territory or stares at them, it’s a different scenario, she said. She also said it wouldn’t have been surprising if the pack had turned on the man that fed them.
“I can put food in a wolf’s pen and put it in, and put it in, and put it in, and the wrong thing happens, and I’m toast,” Beaver said.