Chicago Infant Killed by Neglect, Not Pit Bull

Out of respect, I was going to wait to write about  Jah’Niyah White, the adorable 2-year-old Chicago toddler mauled to death by her grandfather’s dog.   But since the media didn’t wait to sensationalize the incident, I guess I can’t wait either to put the story straight.  

Little 2-year-old Jah’Niyah White was fatally mauled on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2013, by what is being described as a “pit bull.”   The little girl was left unattended with her grandfather’s female dog and her puppy.   Anyone see any red flags there?   Besides never leaving an infant alone with a dog of any breed, you never, never, never leave a child alone with a dog who has puppies.  

Why do you never leave a child alone with a dog and her puppies?   Because like any mother, female dogs are protective of their young, and if the child fell on the puppy, or climbed on the puppy, the mother dog may have perceived the infant to be a threat to her puppy and therefore attacked.  

The protectiveness of a mother and her young in the animal kingdom is certainly not unheard of, which is why the Jah’Niyah White death investigation is an investigation into child neglect, not a reason to focus, incorrectly, on a breed of dog (and “pit bull” isn’t a breed anyway no matter how many times the media reports otherwise).  

Another blogger summed up how we all feel when we read about incidents like Jah’Niyah’s:

I have said before that whenever I hear of these incidents, I find it totally gut-wrenching, not only because they are without exception most horrendous events, but also because I know as a dog trainer that the risks were well-known and predictable, and the situation was totally avoidable.

After noting how accounts of Jah’Niyah’s attack varied, she concluded,

. . . inconsistencies in reports are one reason that we need these events to be thoroughly investigated . . . It is time that we investigated the whole context of serious dog attacks and fatalities, in order to take strong preventative action, based on a sound knowledge of the whole context of dog behaviour and the responsibilities of dog ownership.

In the meantime, keep dogs and toddlers securely separated.

Indeed, dog maulings, particularly of children, need to be investigated so that instead of incorrectly focusing on breed, we focus instead on the human who was responsible, which is why I so often advocate for dangerous dog (owner) laws.

And I would add to her conclusion: don’t just keep dogs and children separate unless supervised, but particularly keep children separate from dogs and their puppies.   This used to be a given, but as we’ve moved further away from our agrarian roots, people sadly need reminding of these things.


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 [Photo courtesy of the U.K.’s Daily Mail]



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