Payton Sawyers (1) – Independence, VA – Killed By Pit Bull-Mix While Under Care Of Babysitters (1/8/16)


UPDATE: 15-month-old dies of injuries from pitbull attack in Grayson County

Two people have been charged. Illegal drugs and ammunition were also found in the home

Web Staff, WDBJ7, news@wdbj7.com – POSTED: 01:38 PM EST Jan 08, 2016    UPDATED: 02:51 PM EST Jan 09, 2016

terra-connell-john-underwood-payton-sawyers-jpgTwo people have been charged with having a vicious dog after a 15-month-old child suffered life-threatening injuries after being mauled by a pit bull Wednesday night in Grayson County.

Illegal drugs and ammunition were also found in the home, according to the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, a 9-1-1 call was placed at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday on Penn Ford Road in Independence after John Underwood II and Terra Connell heard the child screaming. Underwood and Connell were babysitting the child.

The dog had the girl’s head in its mouth. Underwood was bitten in the face while trying to stop the attack.

The child was flown to Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C., and is in critical condition.

Underwood is charged with felony child neglect and possessing a vicious dog. Connell is also charged with felony neglect and having a vicious dog. She is also charged with possession of illegal drugs and possession of ammunition by a felon.

The dog was seized by Grayson County Animal Control. An animal control officer said they did not have any information about prior bite reports on the dog, but witnesses said they noticed aggressive behavior by the dog previously. A decision on what to do with the dog is pending court action.

Underwood and Connell are being held at the New River Valley Regional Jail without bond. They are scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Read more: http://www.wdbj7.com/news/local/new-river-valley/child-in-grayson-county-suffers-lifethreatening-injuries-during-dog-attack/37334632


Caretakers now charged with murder after dog attacks infant in Grayson County

John-Underwood-and-Terra-Connell-jpgWXII 12 – UPDATED 4:40 PM EST Jan 15, 2016

Grayson County deputies allege the duo was babysitting the girl at their home when she was mauled by their pit bull mix. The dog also held the girl’s head in its mouth, said Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughan.

Underwood said he was awoken by the girl’s screams, and he was bitten in the face while trying to intervene, Vaughan said.

Animal Control officials seized the dog, which was later put down. There were no prior reports of the dog biting anyone, but there have been reports of the dog showing aggressive behavior, Vaughan said.

Read full story: http://www.wxii12.com/news/Caretakers-now-charged-with-murder-after-dog-attacks-infant-in-Grayson-County/37459902


Funeral arrangements set for infant killed in Grayson Co. dog attack


2015 Pit Bull Fatality: Payton Sawyers

January 2016, Grayson County, VA
Payton Sawyers, 1
Fatal pit bull attack

Payton Sawyers is the 480th American fatally attacked by a pit bull, according to Fatal Pit Bull Attacks – The Archival Record.DogsBite.org began this historical archive in 2011 and keeps it updated. Fatal attacks involving pit bulls date back as far as 1833. Payton is the 287th person killed by a pit bull since the CDC stopped collecting “breed data” for these deaths in 1998. Payton is also the 199th child killed by a pit bull since 1980, when the pit bull problem began to emerge. – DogsBite.org
UPDATE: January 9, 2016
Investigators say the 15-month-old has died of her injuries. On January 6, 2016 at about 9:30 p.m. Deputies, Rescue personnel and Animal Control responded to a 911 call at 443 Penn Ford Road in Independence. They met with the residents, John Underwood and Terra Connell. Underwood told investigators that he was awakened by the screams of a 15 month old child they were babysitting. The child had been mauled by their Pit Bull mix dog “E.J.” and had the child’s head in its mouth. Underwood was bitten in the face while trying to intervene in the attack of the child. The child was flown to Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she remains in critical condition. – WDBJ7.com

pit bull attack Posted in 2016 Fatal Pit Bull Attack, Post CDC Acquiescence | Tagged , ,
https://www.fatalpitbullattacks.com/blog/

2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Visiting Child Killed by Babysitters’ Pit Bull-Mix in Virginia

DogsBite.org reports’

Babysitters Charged with Murder
UPDATE 01/13/16: The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office has charged a couple with murder after their pit bull brutally attacked a child who was under their care. John Underwood II and Terra Connell have been charged with second-degree murder in connection to the death of 15-month old Payton Sawyers. The two had initially been charged with felony child neglect and possessing a vicious dog. Then Payton died of her injuries. Now the two are also facing murder charges.

The new charges come after investigator A. G. Horton interviewed witnesses who had previously observed the dog being aggressive towards other animals and humans, according to a statement on the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. After learning this information and consulting with the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Horton and Sheriff Richard Vaughan were advised to seek additional charges against the two, felony homicide, which is second-degree murder.

Underwood and Connell had knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities and still did not protect the child from the dog. Murder charges ensued.

This marks the fourth case since May 2013 when prosecutors filed murder charges after a fatal dog mauling. Most recently in Detroit, Geneke Lyons was charged with murder after his pit bulls disemboweled a boy. In 2014, also in Michigan, a husband and wife were charged with murder after their cane corsos killed a jogger. In August 2014, Alex Jackson was convicted of second-degree murder in Los Angeles County, California after his pit bulls savagely killed Pamela Devitt.

Read more: https://blog.dogsbite.org/2016/01/2016-dog-bite-fatality-child-killed-by-babysitter-pit-bull-virginia.html


  • “Child suffers life-threatening injuries during dog attack in Grayson County,” WDBJ 7, January 8, 2016 (www.wdbj.com)
  • “Infant critically injured in Grayson County dog attack; 2 caretakers arrested,” WXII 12, January 8, 2016 (www.wxii12.com)
  • (Update) “Infant critically injured in Grayson County dog attack; 2 caretakers arrested,” WXII 12, January 8, 2016 (www.wxii12.com)
  • “Child in critical condition after dog attack in Grayson County,” WSLS-TV, January 8, 2016 (www.wsls.com)
  • “Infant attacked by dog in Grayson County has succumbed to injuries,” Grayson County Sheriff’s Office-Virginia Facebook Post, January 9, 2016 (www.facebook.com)
  • “Payton Lyrik,” GoFundMe.com, January 9, 2016 (www.gofundme.com)
  • Robert Sorrell, “15-month-old child dies after dog attack in Grayson County,” Bristol Herald Courier, January 9, 2016 (www.heraldcourier.com)
  • Kristen Eskow, “UPDATE: Toddler dies after dog attack, Virginia First, January 10, 2016 (www.virginiafirst.com)
  • “Dog attack results in infant death; babysitters facing charges,” Galax Gazette, January 10, 2016, (www.galaxgazette.com)
  • “Toddler mauled dies,” WXII 12, January 11, 2016 (www.wxii12.com)
  • Lori Welbourne, “When media members are pit bull apologists,” The Province, January 11, 2016 (blogs.theprovince.com)
  • Melinda Williams, “Dog attack child dies, more charges pending,” Southwest Times (paywall), January 12, 2016 (www.southwesttimes.com)
  • “Dog attack results in infant death; babysitters charged with murder,” Grayson County Sheriff’s Office-Virginia Facebook Post, January 13, 2016 (www.facebook.com)
  • Robert Sorrell, “Babysitters charged with murder in dog attack death,” Bristol Herald Courier, January 13, 2016 (www.heraldcourier.com)
  • “Grayson County man, woman charged with murder in deadly dog attack that killed infant,” WSLS-TV, January 13, 2016 (www.wsls.com)
  • Obituary, “Payton Lyrik Sawyers,” Vaughan-Guynn Funeral Home, (undated), (www.meaningfulfunerals.net)
  • “Funeral arrangements set for infant killed in Grayson County dog attack,” WSLS-TV, January 14, 2016 (www.wsls.com)
  • “Murder charges filed in dog attack death,” Galax Gazette, January 14, 2016, (www.galaxgazette.com)
  • Justin Ward, “Godmother remembers Grayson County toddler killed in vicious pit bull attack,” WDBJ 7, January 14, 2016 (www.wdbj7.com)
  • “Caretakers now charged with murder after dog attacks infant in Grayson County,” WXII 12, January 15, 2016 (www.wxii12.com)
  • Nicole Ducouer, “WXII 12 Exclusive: Mother talks of daughter’s death,” WXII 12, January 16, 2016 (www.wxii12.com)

Source citations: https://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-fatality-citations-2016.php#payton-sawyers


American Pit Bull Terrier

bullpit1-300x198The ‘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.

Click here to read more about the American Pit Bull Terrier


Tyler Trammell-Huston (9) – Linda, CA – Killed By Sister’s 3 Pit Bulls After She Left Him Alone With The Dogs (1/3/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/01/tyler-trammell-huston-fatal-pit-bull-attack-linda-ca/

 

Payton Sawyers (1) – Independence, VA – Killed By Pit Bull-Mix While Under Care Of Babysitters (1/8/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/01/payton-sawyers-independence-virginia-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Talen Nathan West (7) – Lumberton, NC – Killed By Neighbor’s Pit Bull While Playing In The Woods With His Brother (1/24/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/01/talen-nathan-west-lumberton-north-carolina-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Aiden Grim-Morelli (3 days) – Youngstown, OH – Killed By Family “Mix-breed Shepherd” When Left In A Laundry Basket (2/8/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/02/aiden-grim-morelli-youngstown-ohio-shepherd-death/

 

Suzanne Story (36) – Hertford, NC – Killed By A Pit Bull-Mix She Adopted 2 Weeks Earlier (2/10/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/02/suzanne-story-hertford-north-carolina-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Gladys Alexander (92) – Olympia, WA – Killed By Her Neighbor’s 4 Pit Bull-Mixes While Delivering Newspaper (3/8/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/03/gladys-alexander-olympia-wa-pit-bull-mix-fatal-dog-attack/

 

Bessie Flowers (86) – Charlotte, NC – Killed By Her Daughter’s 2 Pit Bulls While Visiting (3/28/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/03/bessie-flowers-charlotte-north-carolina-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Sonda Dyan Tyson (66) – Leesburg, FL – Killed By Her Own Pit Bull-Bullmastiff mix (3/31/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/03/sonda-dyan-tyson-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Valente Lopez Aguirre (58) – Fresno County, CA – Killed By Pack Of Dogs (4/14/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/04/valente-lopez-aguirre-fresno-county-ca-robert-simonian/

 

Sebastian Caban (3 days) – San Diego, CA – Killed By The Family Pit Bull-Mix While Lying In Bed With His Parents (4/21/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/04/sebastian-caban-san-diego-ca-fatal-pit-bull-attack-mira-mesa/

 

Manuel Mejia (49) – Homestead, FL – Killed By 1 Pit Bull Type & 9 Belgium Malinois-Bulldog Mixes While Farming (4/24/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/04/manuel-mejia-homestead-florida-fatal-dog-attack-2016/

 

Adonis Reddick (45) – St. Louis County, MO – Killed By His Own Pit Bull (5/9/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/05/adonis-reddick-st-louis-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Antoinette Brown (52) – Dallas, TX – Killed By A Pack Of 4 Pit Bull-Mixes, Rottweiler, Shepherd & Doberman-Mixes (5/9/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/05/antoinette-brown-dallas-texas-fatal-dog-attack/

 

Earl Stephens Jr. (43) – Stockton, CA – Killed By 3 Pit Bulls While Visiting A Friend – (6/4/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/06/earl-stephens-jr-stockton-ca-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Hunter Bragg (7) – Corinna, ME – Killed By A Pit Bull While Playing In Father’s Yard (6/4/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/06/hunter-bragg-corinna-maine-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Erin McCleskey (36) – Manor, TX – Killed By Pack Of Dogs While Serving Papers (6/15/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/06/erin-mccleskey-36-manor-texas-dog-bite-related-fatality/

 

Jocelyn Winfrey (53) – New Haven, CT – Killed By 2 Pit Bull Type Dogs While Visiting Friend (6/27/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/06/jocelyn-winfrey-hamilton-hicks-new-haven-ct-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Susie Kirby (3-days) – Fresno, CA – Killed By The Family’s 2 Pit Bull/Shar Pei Mixes (6/27/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/06/susie-kirby-fresno-california-fatal-pit-bull-shar-pei-dog-attack/

 

Kayden Begay (3) – Navajo Nation Reservation, AZ – Killed By The Neighbor’s 5 Pit Bulls (7/14/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/07/kayden-begay-navajo-nation-reservation-az-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Elizabeth Rivera (71) – Detroit, MI – Killed By Her Daughter’s 4 Pit Bulls (7/16/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/07/elizabeth-rivera-detroit-michigan-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Crisencio Aliado (52) – Honolulu, HI – Killed By 2 Loose Pit Bull-Mixes (7/29/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/07/crisencio-aliado-honolulu-hawaii-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Michelle Wilcox (30) – Screven County, Georgia – Killed By Her Boyfriend’s Pit Bull While Visiting (8/1/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/08/michelle-wilcox-screven-county-georgia-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Derion Stevenson (9) – Las Vegas, NV – Killed By Pit Bull-Mix While Visiting Friend (8/17/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/08/derion-stevenson-las-vegas-nevada-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Michael Downing (83) – Jacksonville, FL – Killed By Rottweiler & 3 Mixed-Breeds While Taking Out Trash (8/19/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/08/michael-downing-jacksonville-florida-fatal-dog-attack/

 

Susan Shawl (60) – Conifer, CO – Killed By Her Son’s 2 Family Pit Bulls (8/29/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/08/richard-susan-shawl-conifer-colorado-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Baby Jane Doe (6-days) – College Station, TX – Killed By Breed Unknown (9/1/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/09/baby-jane-doe-college-station-texas-fatal-dog-attack/

 

Piper Dunbar (2) – Topeka, KS – Killed By Family Friend’s 2 Pit Bulls (9/24/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/09/piper-dunbar-topeka-kansas-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Kiyana McNeal (4) – Sherman Township, MI – Killed By A Doberman-Mix Within An Hour Of Adopting (10/23/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/10/kiyana-mcneal-sherman-township-dog-doberman-fatal-attack/

 

Daisie Bradshaw (68) – New York City, NY – Killed By Her Daughter’s 2 Pit Bull-Mixes (10/25/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/10/daisie-bradshaw-68-staten-island-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

Isaiah Jacob Franklin (6) – Huntington, WV – Killed By The Family Pit Bull (12/2/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/12/isaiah-jacob-franklin-huntington-west-virginia-fatal-pit-bull-attack/

 

David Fear (64) – Grover Beach, CA – Killed By Neighbor’s Police K9 (12/16/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/12/david-fear-grover-beach-california-fatal-dog-attack/

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