San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies have arrested two men in connection with a Dec. 25, 2007 dog attack on 45-year-old Kelly Caldwell, who was mauled to death in Yermo by a pack of pit bulls. According to this news report, the two 23-year-old men – Jeffrey Dwayne King Jr. and John Allan Peterson, have been charged with failing to maintain vicious dogs, causing death and/or serious bodily injury.
Here is the blog we wrote immediately after the accident. Kelly Caldwell was attacked by the dogs as she was walking near the intersection of Second Street and Yermo Road. Officials said then that it was the first time an adult was mauled to death in the area.
I’m glad that authorities finally filed criminal charges against these two men, who were clearly not responsible dog owners. If you are not able to restrain your animals and prevent them from causing serious harm to your neighbors or community members, you must pay the price for it. I hope both men are held criminally and civilly liable for their action, which caused Kelly Caldwell and her family tremendous pain, anguish and grief.
Breed bans, especially those relating to pit bulls and rottweilers are controversial. But let’s look at this case where a pack of at least four pit bulls came down on a helpless woman, attacking her ruthlessly and killing her. These were not “domestic” pets. To me, they behaved more like wild animals.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, between 1979 and 1998, pit bulls were responsible for 66 deaths, the highest among all dog breeds. Rottweilers came in second at 39 fatalities. The victims in most dog attack cases are young children, but this Yermo dog attack is a reminder that these breeds are capable of taking an adult down just as quickly. Dog attacks on adults are becoming increasingly common.
There is no question that the heirs of Kelly Caldwell are entitled to significant compensation for their loss, emotional pain and suffering. I hope King and Peterson are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that Caldwell’s family members get the justice and compensation they rightfully deserve.