People who are alone are probably at greater risk of being severely attacked and possibly killed by a pack of dogs. This is particularly true if a person encounters a pack of dogs in an isolated setting. The combination of factors that make this possible is threefold: the presence of a pack of dogs, an isolated setting, and a person who is alone.
Below, I will give several examples, taken from different locations in the United States, in which a person sustained a fatal or near-fatal dog bite attack by a pack of dogs in an isolated setting.
- California, May 2013. In this incident, a pack of pit bulls dogs killed a woman taking her morning walk in Antelope Valley, a semi-desert area near Lancaster. The victim sustained about 200 puncture wounds. An investigation found that these dogs had previously attacked and killed animals and that people in the community were scared of the dogs. The owner of these dogs now faces murder charges.
- Georgia, August 2009. A pack of about 12 dogs fatally mauled to death an elderly couple in Oglethorpe County, a rural area in northeast Georgia. the dog’s killed the lady on a Friday evening, and when her husband went searching for her the next day, he was killed by the same dogs. Their mutilated bodies were found on a dirt road near their home. The dogs involved were reported to be mixed Labradors, Chow chows, German shepherds and Doberman pinschers.
- Ohio, August 2013. A pack of four dogs attacked a 12-year-old boy taking an evening jog on an isolated, gravel road near Columbus. The incident unfolded when the dogs started following him down the road. Initially, one dog bit him on the leg. The boy then ran back to his home, and the dogs followed and caught up to him in his front yard. At this point, all four dogs joined the attack. His father tried to stop the attack by firing warning shots. He shot one dog, he pulled another dog away from his son, and another dog ran into a nearby cornfield. Dog bite wounds were inflicted to the boy’s scalp, chest, arms, shoulders, and legs. He was taken to a hospital, underwent surgery, and then was hospitalized. The dogs involved in the attack, described as “farm dogs”, were identified as being a pit bull, a shepherd mix, and several mixed breed dogs.
- Texas, August 2013. A 52-year-old lady, on her way to work, was mauled by a pack of at least 15 dogs, under an isolated overpass in Houston. The ladies clothes were torn off, and the dogs dragged her for a substantial distance. She was bitten on her arms, legs, and neck, and the dogs started eating her. She suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized in critical condition. A railroad worker witnessed the attack and called for help. The dogs were found living underneath a funeral home. Some of the dogs in the pack were as young as four months of age.
Many dogs roaming in groups in rural, isolated, remote areas are likely to be hungry, and since they are unsupervised they become apt to launch a coordinated attack for predatory reasons on any potential prey object they encounter. The motivation for a single dog to express its predatory inclinations increases substantially when it is with other unsupervised dogs in isolated and remote settings. Note; however, dogs do not necessarily have to be hungry to display predatory behavior; however, hunger is likely to be a strong motivational factor prompting an attack on a single person. It is also significant to note that leash laws usually do not exist in the locations where dog bite pack attack on humans occur. This, in turn, allows owners to let their dogs roam free, and this encourages dogs to form packs that pose a substantial danger to a single person who encounters the dogs by happenstance.
Richard Polsky, Ph.D. has successfully served attorneys as a dog bite expert witness. He available for assignment on cases that involve issues about the risks dog packs present to public safety.