Declan Moss – 18-months old – Killed by the family pit bull-mixes

18-month-old boy killed in dog mauling, Hernando authorities report

declan-moss-killed-by-pit-bull-mix-1Claire McNeillClaire McNeill, Times Staff Writer – 1/19/15

An 18-month-old Hernando County toddler was mauled to death Monday in front of his grandfather by a pair of family dogs, sheriff’s deputies said.

Officials arrived at the mobile home late Monday morning after receiving a call about the boy being bitten by dogs. They found Declan Moss dead from the attack.

The toddler had been playing on the porch of the home, in the rural northeastern corner of Hernando County, when two dogs attacked him for reasons still unknown. His grandfather, Gregory Moss, tried to pull the dogs off, but Declan died of his injuries.

Read more:

18-month-old boy killed after being attacked by two family dogs


  • Declin Moss was playing on the front porch at the home in Brookville, Florida, when the two ‘mixed breed’ dogs mauled him
  • The toddler was being watched by his grandfather, 51-year-old Gregory Moss, at the time and mom Shelia wasn’t present
  • Authorities arrived at the home after receiving a call about a boy being bitten by a dog and found the toddler dead from his injuries
  • declan-moss-killed-by-pit-bull-mix-5Investigators have described the animals – named Thumper and Max – as ‘mixed breed,’ but neighbors have said they were pit bulls


The attack happened at around 11 a.m. When authorities arrived at the home after receiving a call about a boy being bitten by a dog, they found the toddler dead from his injuries.

Investigators have described the two animals – named Thumper and Max – as ‘mixed breed,’ but are awaiting confirmation from a vet to determine their breed types. Neighbors described the dogs as pit bulls.

Read more:

Hernando toddler killed in dog attack

declan-moss-killed-by-pit-bull-mix-310 News Staff, WTSP – 6:25 p.m. EST January 19, 2015

Based on a preliminary investigation, deputies say Declin Moss was playing on the porch while being supervised by his grandfather.

For unknown reasons, two of the family dogs attacked Declin, killing him. Investigators describe the animals, named Thumper and Max, as “mixed breed,” but were waiting confirmation from a veterinarian to determine their breed types.

Read more:

2 dogs attack, kill Hernando toddler playing on porch

By Melanie Michael – 1/19/15

4stb_dogattack012015_14531333_8colBrooksville – Little Declan Moss loved to play outdoors. At just 18-months-old, he frolicked around the yard and enjoyed being outside in his rural Brooksville neighborhood.

That’s where the toddler was Monday morning alongside the family dogs, Max and Thumper. Neighbors tell 8 On Your Side the pets were pit bulls, and that all of a sudden, Declin was in danger.

Charles Shorey cried as he described the toddler, “He was a beautiful kid. I feel sorry for the mother. She’s, she’s fighting and struggling.”

The toddler’s grandfather ran outside and witnessed a horrifying sight around 11 a.m. – two snarling, barking dogs mauling his grandson.

The dogs wouldn’t let go of each other or the baby.

The grandfather called 911, but it was too late.  Little Declan was gone.

Read more:

2015 Dog Bite Fatality: 18-Month Old Boy Killed by Family Dogs in Brooksville, Florida – 1/23/15

Images Released
UPDATE 01/23/15: The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office released still images of both fatally attacking dogs to their Facebook page yesterday along with a message to so-called “animal lovers” who are upset that the sheriff’s office also allowed the media to capture video footage of the dogs. Max and Thumper, both male pit bull-mixes, attacked and killed 18-month old Declan Moss on Monday. Quickly afterward, his mother Sheila Moss defended the breed of the dog.

declan-moss-killed-by-pit-bull-mix-4We greatly thank the sheriff’s office for releasing the images. Doing so provides an excellent public service. Also, to clarify the “animal lover” language, the vast majority of Facebook users complaining to the sheriff’s office were pit bull advocates, upset that images identifying the breed of dog were released to the public at all. They do not want another damning fatal attack stacked onto the breed’s horrific track record, which kills more people than all dog breeds combined.

There has been a lot of discussion about our recent Facebook posting that included the video of the dog(s) involved in the fatal attack on Declan Moss. The posting came after several members of the media requested to obtain still and video images of the dogs for their continuing coverage of this terribly tragic event. Our intent was not to offend animal lovers. We, on the contrary, have a long history of supporting the appropriate adoption and treatment of domestic animals. We did feel, however, that including the video on our Facebook page would be an opportunity to provide a public service. We all like to think that something like this could never happen in our home. We believe that we can pick out a vicious dog when we see one. Unfortunately, as you can see from the videos, it would be impossible to predict a tragic attack like this based solely on the temperament or demeanor of the dog, especially when interacting with adults under normal circumstances. It is for this reason that we want every parent and guardian to be aware that medium and large size dogs can be unpredictable around young children and can inflict considerable damage in a short period of time. Whether a dog attack is motivated by jealousy, frustration, a pack mentality or a “killer instinct,” doesn’t matter after an event like this. The only option is for parents and guardians to be hypervigilant in keeping small children out of harms way. – Hernando County Sheriff’s Office

Read more:


American Pit Bull Terrier

The ‘bull and terrier’ type was originally developed in England in the early 19thcentury. The lineage goes back to the mastiff / molosser types, including what we now call the Olde English Bulldogge, that were used for bear-, bull- and horse-baiting from the 12th through the 18th century. This isn’t the bear-baiting we think of today, when hunters feed bears in order to bring them out in the open to shoot them. Rather, the bear, bull or horse was confined in a public arena where the mastiff ‘bulldogs’ would slowly tear them apart alive for the public’s amusement1,2,3,4,5.

The popularity of this ‘sport’ declined as education became more emphasized in urban society of the Industrial Revolution and literacy among the population grew (from about 30% in the 17th century to 62% by 1800)6.  The ‘sport’ was banned altogether by Act of Parliament in 1835.

The lovers of blood ‘sports’ turned to dogfighting to satisfy their fancy, breeding the large, mastiff-type bulldogs to smaller working terriers to get dogs both smaller and more agile, easier to keep and to hide, but just as willing to attack and fight to the death. With the rise of the kennel clubs and the desire to distinguish dogs by looks and pedigree as well as by performance, this ‘bull and terrier’ type eventually divided into many official breeds. They all share the same ancestry and function, distinguishing themselves mostly by slight differences in appearance.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is, like all the ‘bully’ breeds, one of this group of descendants of the British ‘bull and terrier’ type fighting bulldogs. Once imported into the United States, it was bred up to be bigger again, and again used in baiting animals and in dogfighting. The American Kennel Club (founded 1884) was unwilling to register these fighting dogs, so in 1898 the United Kennel Club was founded specifically to register working pit-fighting dogs and to promote dogfighting. In order to be registered, a dog had to first win three pit fights7,8,9. The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) became a ‘breed’. As dogfighting declined in popularity in the 1930s and 1940s, Colby (the most famous and prolific breeder of these dogs) began to search for a new market and began promoting the APBT as family pets10,11. This despite the fact that his breeding lines included child killers12.

Read more:

The Pit Bull lobby – Jane Berkey, Animal Farm Foundation, Karen Delise, The National Canine Research Council, Indeterminate Breeds