On April 28th, 2014, Katie Morrison, 20-years old, from Phenix City, Alabama, was visiting her friend, Billie Mixon, from Smiths Station in the Heather Brooke neighborhood. Mixon, a friend she had met from church, wanted Katie to get acquainted with her dogs in preparation to dog sit while she was away. According to Mixon, she and Katie were in the company of the dogs and playing fetch for about three hour but then, “when she bent down to grab the tennis ball, one jumped on, then the other jumped on, and the dogs turned different than they’ve ever been before.”
WTVM interviewed several neighbors after the attack.
Neighbors on Lee County Road 504 in the Heather Brooke neighborhood recall what happened next. They said three of the four pit bulls turned on their owner and the visiting 20-year-old woman was nearly scalped. The owner also sustained injuries trying to pull them off.
“I looked over the fence and I saw that lady laying there. What I remember was her head- there was almost no hair left. The head and the face were covered with blood,” said Gabby Witt.
“They brought the victim out in an ambulance and she was covered in blood. Even the animal control officer was frightened. They didn’t know how they were going to get the dogs out if they were very aggressive,” Jodie Marshall.
Morrison was taken by East Alabama Medical Center EMS via ambulance to Midtown Medical Center in Columbus and then transferred to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. She succumbed to her injuries on the night of May 4th, 2014. She had suffered severe head injuries and had multiple puncture and laceration wounds over her body after the attack, Harris says.
The death investigation remains ongoing by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the Lee County Coroner’s Office. Alabama state law requires dogs to be observed for at least 10 days after an attack before potentially being released back to the owner.
It is recommended that American Pit Bull Terrier owners have and carry a break stick17. A break stick is a device designed to open a Pit Bull type dog’s mouth while it is engaged in fighting. Pit Bull type breeds have a very distinctive fighting style and often will latch on their opponent and not let go. They usually will shake the other animal violently when they are latched on. This can cause horrific damage quickly. The break stick was designed by dog fighters to be inserted into the Pit Bull’s mouth and release his grip. The original purpose was to safely end a dog fight. The break stick often is the ONLY thing that will release the dog’s grip. People have been known to hit Pit Bulls with objects such as a bat or even shoot them and the dog still will not let go. Bully Breed owners should always have one handy in cause of an emergency. The break stick is not safe to use on other breeds of dogs and is only recommended for dogs in the Pit Bull family that were once used for dog fighting purposes.
This is a list of dog breeds that have a history of being potentially dangerous to people, especially children. Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education and Awareness understands that any dog has the ability to bite or inflict serious harm to humans. This list consists of several dog breeds that have a higher than average number of recorded human fatalities. Please use extreme caution if you choose to bring one of these breeds into your home. Rental communities and homeowners insurance may restrict many of the dog breeds on this list due to the likelihood of a serious incident.
Pit Bulls, Mastiff, and Rottweiler lead in fatalities and are listed first. The rest of the breeds are listed in alphabetical order:
Pit Bull Terrier Family
- American Bulldog
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- English/Standard Bull Terrier
- Miniature Bull Terrier
- Olde English Bulldog
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Cane Corso/Italian Mastiff
- Dogo Argentino
- English Mastiff
- Fila Brasileiro
- Dogue de Bordeaux/French Mastiff
- Great Dane/German Mastiff
- Presa Canario
- St. Bernard/Alpine Mastiff