Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Dog owner sentenced to two years [Wisconsin man’s Rottweilers mauled girl to death]
AP | 6/28/03

Posted on 06/28/2003 8:24:27 AM PDT by Mr. Mojo

MAUSTON, Wis., June 27 — The owner of six Rottweilers that mauled a 10-year-old girl to death on Valentine’s Day a year ago was sentenced to two years in prison Friday.

IN A DEAL with prosecutors, Wayne Hardy, 25, had pleaded no contest to recklessly causing harm to a child and child neglect. He could have faced up to 60 years in prison if convicted on the original charges because he had been charged as a repeat offender.

The girl, Alicia Clark, had been visiting a friend at Hardy’s Elroy home on Feb. 14, 2002, when the dogs attacked her. Neither Hardy nor his girlfriend, Shanda McCracken, was home at the time.

McCracken’s daughter Melissa said she had heard a yelp, then saw the dogs - two adult Rottweilers and four 6- to 8-month-old puppies - attacking Alicia seconds later. The criminal complaint said Alicia had been petting one of the puppies when an adult dog attacked her.

“There’s nothing I can ever do or say to bring Alicia back,” Hardy told Alicia’s family in court Friday. “I cared about that little girl a lot. I myself have to live the rest of my life knowing she died at my home.”

Alicia’s mother, Tammy Shiflett, said the two-year sentence wasn’t enough.

Alicia would have turned 12 on Friday, she said, choking back tears.

In addition to the two-year sentence, Hardy was ordered to serve three years of supervised release for one count of recklessly causing harm to a child, plus two years probation for each of three child neglect charges.

Juneau County Circuit Judge Robert Radcliffe also ordered him to pay Alicia’s family $2,755 for her funeral expenses and between $5,000 and $6,000 for the cost of counseling.

Hardy also will not be allowed to own animals while on supervised release or probation. The dogs involved in the attack were euthanized.

Hardy’s attorney, Daniel Berkos, said there was no way he could have known the dogs would attack.

“Was he careless? Probably. Was it reckless? Certainly not. Was it unconscionable? Certainly not.”

Assistant District Attorney John Romer said Hardy did not train the dogs, kept them in a squalid house filled with feces and urine and told others he thought the dogs were too aggressive.

Romer said Alicia suffered so many wounds in the attack that a pathologist who examined her body did not attempt to count them.

“Every part of her body was bitten except the soles of her feet and her left hand,” Romer said.

TOPICS: Culture/Society
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-56 next last
What is "Presa Canario?"
21 posted on 06/28/2003 10:59:36 AM PDT by Cobra64
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Cobra64
The Pressa Canario is a very large fighting dog developed in the Canary Islands that is now one of the new, trendy, "tough" dogs. The case VOA was referring to was the one in SF a couple of years ago where a Pressa attacked and killed a woman in her apartment hallway.
22 posted on 06/28/2003 11:04:25 AM PDT by Mr. Mojo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]


Or, in Dyespeake, NTBK
23 posted on 06/28/2003 11:11:27 AM PDT by freedumb2003 (Peace through Strength)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Cobra64; Mr. Mojo
What is "Presa Canario?"

Mr. Mojo summed up the situation well.
Also, here is a URL to a short list of links for sites on the breed.

Just to be clear, I'm not bashing any breed of dog. The problem is the "short between
the ears" of the owners...or any peckerwood who knowingly taunts a dog
into intemperate action.

The San Francisco case is the poster child scenario for pushing for bad owners
to shape up their act. If I understood correctly, it was a case in which a slimy
husband-wife team of lawyers were actually in cahoots with one (or some) of their
clients in a scheme to breed and train Presa Canario dogs into killing machines...
in order to make good money selling them to the thugs that want such calling-cards.
IIRC, at least one of these clients was part of a white supremicist
group and doing time in the ultra-maximum security prison at Pelican Bay
(that's a notoriously unpleasant prison...and was designed to be so for
holding the "worst of the worst").

To hear the first responders (police? ambulance drivers?) were even
psychologically impacted by the sight of the hideously mauled victim trying with
her last breath to drag herself to the door of her apartment...
...the scene of gore apparently would have earned an NC-17 or X rating if
it had been show as a scene in a movie.
24 posted on 06/28/2003 11:30:53 AM PDT by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: LaraCroft
" thing I always carry it a big hardwood walking 'stick'."

You're braver than I am. I carry a Kimber 1911 .45cal ACP with Corbon 165gr hollowpoints, as my Penna CCW piece. In 13yrs of thousands of meetings with homeowners, on site, for landscaping jobs, I've only had to shoot one rott which came after me.

About two weeks later, I was ringing the doorbell at a dr's home for a lscp meeting, when a 4ft (shoulder height!) bull mastiff rounded the corner and let out a blood-curdling bark. I'd left the paddle-holstered .45 in the Jeep, and the dog was between me and the vehicle. I dropped my clipboard, crossed myself (and I'm not even Catholic!) and prepared for the end. Luckily, the dog was friendly and just slobbered all over my shaking knees. The dr apologized, the meeting was a success and I had spare clean shorts in my BOB (bug out bag) in the vehicle.
25 posted on 06/28/2003 11:31:11 AM PDT by Hinoki Cypress
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Hinoki Cypress
The Bullmastiff (and its English Mastiff cousins) are actually very friendly dogs. Of all the dog mauling stories I've read over the years, not one has involved either of these breeds.

Good idea carrying a .45ACP. If you were carrying a smaller caliber, and were attacked by a few tough and determined dogs, you could run out of rounds pretty quickly. How many shots did it take to put down that Rottie?

26 posted on 06/28/2003 11:41:55 AM PDT by Mr. Mojo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Ditter
My dearest friend breeds Rotties in Canada, and hers are the gentlest doggs you'd ever want to know. It's not the breed, it's the indiscriminate breeders and ignorant owners that cause the problems.
27 posted on 06/28/2003 12:15:59 PM PDT by spookycc (4MORE4W)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: spookycc
Yes, I know. Every Rottie doesn't kill & maime but the potential is there. They have the size the strength & the breeding for it.
28 posted on 06/28/2003 12:56:54 PM PDT by Ditter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: spookycc
My Blue Heeler never saw a cow in his whole life but he would nip the backs of my kids legs when they ran in the yard.
29 posted on 06/28/2003 12:59:36 PM PDT by Ditter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Mojo
"...and its English Mastiff cousins..."

A couple I knew had two of these -- a 180-pound female and a 220-pound male. Their 4-year-old daughter, who frequently cowed both animals with her scoldings and commands, rode the large one just as though it was a pony. The only reason not to own one of these is the cost of feeding them and the copious amounts of gooey slobber all over your floors.

30 posted on 06/28/2003 1:56:05 PM PDT by Bonaparte
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Mojo

GOOD dogs :>

31 posted on 06/28/2003 2:02:16 PM PDT by KantianBurke (The Federal govt should be protecting us from terrorists, not handing out goodies)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ditter; umgud; VOA; AlexW
My brother is a veternarian & the breed he dislikes the most is Rottweilers. He says they were bred to attack & kill humans.

Please let me know where your brother practices, so I can avoid such an incredibly ignorant "professional". Furthermore, his attitude indicates he's not even suited to be a "dog doctor" at all -- he's like an MD who holds ignorant, hostile, and false prejudicial attitudes towards certain races of human patients, instead of considering each patient on their own merits and without preconceived malice. If he has that much antagonism and lack of education about dogs, perhaps he should find another line of work.

What he says is complete and utter horse manure.

Rotttweilers were bred to herd cattle and pull carts. Rottweilers were not "bred to attack and kill humans". On the contrary, they're a working breed, bred to reliably follow instructions, which includes high intelligence and obedience, along with *not* having excessive aggression against humans or the animals they herd.

The American Kennel Club's official description of the Rottweiler breed agrees, saying, "The Rottweiler is a basically calm, confident, and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness", and "The Rottweiler's strong will to work make it an especially good companion dog." They include the Rottweiler in their "working dogs" category. (For contrast, note that they describe the Bull Terrier as being bred to be a "fighting dog or 'gladiator'".)

The name of the breed comes from the Rottweil region (literally "red roof", named for the red tile roofs of the villas built by the Romans) of what is now Germany, where for centuries the cattle trade flourished, from as far back as the Roman Legions, which drove cattle with their movements in order to feed their troops. They used a Mastiff-type dog for herding, which became the ancestor of today's Rottweiler (and that of several other modern breeds of dogs). The Rottweiler was used heavily for cattle-herding for ages, until the advent of rail transport in the mid 1800's reduced the need for drover dogs. Since then, the Rottweiler's intelligent, obedient nature has brought them favor as service dogs, rescue dogs, police dogs, seeing-eye dogs, messenger dogs (by the Germans during World War II), and so on, as well as simple companion dogs (i.e. "pets").

You'll note that the job of "assassin" seems to be missing from that list. You might want to pass that on to your brother.

For a nice history of the breed, see this web page. It's a bit flowery, but you'll find the same information on any number of other sites (or books) about the Rottweiler.

For a typical description of how eager Rottweilers are to follow orders and "work", read the following post from one of the many Rottweiler-owners internet forums:

I have made an amazing (to me) discovery in the past few days about my dogs. Now, I realize I may be kind of slow and most of you probably already know this but I finally understand what people mean when they say, "a dog is happy when they have a job to do". I know that Rottweilers are a working breed but I honestly never realized how happy my dog could be if I actually gave her a job to do. Thank goodness my dog is not as slow as I am.

Akasha absolutely LOVES our horses. She goes bonkers when I tell her it is time to feed the horses and it is her favorite time of day. We have been putting our horses out to graze in our yard every day and I took Akasha out with me when I went to put them away several days ago. While I was walking Zaafinah Akasha kept grabbing the lead rope and trying to pull her away from me. Finally when I got about 10 feet from the corral I told Akasha to put her away. You should have seen how Akasha just lit up. She grabbed the lead rope and trotted into the corral with Zaafinah walking sedately behind her like they had been doing this forever. I decided to work with Akasha and Zaafinah in the corral and boy did Akasha just come alive. Akasha would lead Zaafinah to me from across the pen and take her almost anywhere I asked her to. When I would ask her to sit or platz she responded immediately. I swear she was almost throwing herself to the ground as soon as the words came out of my mouth. I couldn't believe how she was responding to me, it was really amazing.

Akasha is so happy and so very proud of herself when she is out with Zaafinah, leading her around. You can see how happy she is as she struts around the corral with Zaafinah behind her. Everyone who has seen her out there has commented on how happy she looks. Akasha has a few other jobs that she helps me do such as helping me carry the hose and putting the fence back up but nothing makes her happier than leading Zaafinah around.

I've never known anyone who had an actual direct, longstanding, in-depth knowledge of Rottweilers to have anything bad to say about them as a breed. They're an excellent breed of dog; amazingly good-natured, obedient, smart, eager to please, willing to put up with a lot of annoyances that would make other dogs snappish, and so on. They are *not* at all like the stereotype that is often assumed about them. If anything, on the whole they're more prone to being too timid or chicken-hearted rather than too agressive.

Another Rottweiler-forum post describes typical behavior in that regard:

My little 6 lb Friday-cat is FIERCE (just ask Abby), I once watched her drive a stray beagle out of the yard and it fled with its tail between its legs. [...] and she had Calvin [Rottweiler] totally under her paw. If she was lying on his bed, he'd stand next to it crying for me to move the cat 'cause he didn't dare lie down next to her

So why do they often have a bad reputation as vicious manglers? Mainly, because of a) their size and b) their popularity.

First, *all* dogs can be aggressive if not properly socialized, or put into a situation which "pushes their buttons" in the right(wrong?) way. As is often said on the Rottweiler-owner forums, dogs are *dogs*, not four-legged people in fur suits. They have their own instincts and ways of handling situations that differ from ours, and we must remember that. And dogs are hunters, like the wolves they were bred from. They are "built" to catch and kill and eat things as a way of life. With smaller breeds, dog owners can often get away with forgetting these points -- when a little dog snaps, it may barely break the skin, and you can laugh it off and/or smack the dog silly. But with a larger breed (*any* larger breed), if you raise/socialize/train the dog poorly, or through ignorance "press its buttons" the wrong way (either yourself, or by letting it get into certain situations), then if the dog resolves its conflict in a typically doggy way, the consequences will be proportionally larger as well (e,g. blood, stitches, death, etc.)

Note that the statistics on "breeds most likely to bite" consistently show *big* dog breeds. For example, (run by a "dog bite lawyer" -- this is no defense-of-dogs site) lists the following as "the dogs most likely to bite":

Pit bulls, Rottweilers, German shepherds, huskies, Alaskan malamutes, Doberman pinschers, chows, Great Danes, St. Bernards and Akitas.
Note that these are all *large* dogs (or medium dogs with powerful jaws). Are they actually more "likely to bite" than your typical yappy-snappy lap-dog? No, but their bites get *noticed* more because when a little dog bites, there's usually little reason to report it, whereas big-dog bites more often result in enough damage to trigger a visit to the doctor or courtroom. (Although there are exceptions -- in a recent case a Pomeranian(!) attacked and killed a 6-month old baby.) Rottweilers often show up on such lists (and in the news, as in the current case) not because they're more *likely* to bite than other dogs (in fact, I'll bet toy poodles do more frequent actual biting), but because they're big and powerful enough that when they *do* bite, they do more damage from sheer size and strength.

That's not to say that one shouldn't be extremely careful to properly train big dogs (on the contrary, that's even more reason to do so), I'm just pointing out that it's unfair to label some breeds of dogs as "more vicious" or "more likely to bite" when the real issue is size and strength, *not* a worse temperament.

The other reason that Rottweilers "make the list" (or news) often is their popularity. Rottweilers are consistently in the "top ten" lists of most popular breeds to own -- there are a lot of them out there. As a result, even if they bite no more frequently (per dog) than any other large dog (and I've seen no statistics or evidence that they do), they're going to "make the list" more often because there are just plain more of them around (and thus more total incidents, even if the "per dog" incident count is no higher than that for any other breed -- or even if the rate is somewhat lower). I've seen claims that Dalmatians are actually a more "snappy" dog breed than most (they're allegedly high-strung), but even though they're a pretty big dog and can do serious damage too, they don't make "the list" as often as more laid-back big breeds simply because there are a lot fewer of them around, and thus fewer total incidents to report or take note of.

In the current case, from the article I get several impressions:

1. The dogs weren't properly socialized by the owner(s). ("Assistant District Attorney John Romer said Hardy did not train the dogs"). If you own *any* kind of animal -- even *small* dogs -- you have a strong responsibility to properly train it.

2. The owner(s) knew there was an aggression "problem" and *still* didn't do anything about it. ("...and told others he thought the dogs were too aggressive")

3. Probably most important, there were puppies involved. Everyone knows how stupid it is to get close to bear cubs in the wild -- mama is around somewhere, and is likely to be psychotically protective. The same goes for any other species of mammal (including humans -- how much damage would a human mother do to anyone/anything she thought was hurting her baby?) It was stupid to leave children and puppies together unsupervised when the "parent dogs" were around. The story mentions that there was a "yelp", presumably from one of the puppies, and that the dead girl had been playing with one of the puppies. It sounds very much as if the adult dogs thought their puppies were being harmed, and acted accordingly.

I had a mother cat attack me once in a similar situation, and it's just my luck that housecats don't grow to be 100 pounds, or my scratches and bites might well have been fatal ones. I've been seriously mauled by a parrot before, too (large parrots can actually be pretty dangerous, they're like three-year-olds with a pair of built-in wire cutters), and had my share of other animal "attacks" too. In all cases, it was *my* fault, not theirs. Humans are the ones who choose to bring animals into *our* living spaces, and *we* bear the responsibility of training them how to properly act in them, and/or supervising them sufficiently or taking proper precautions, and/or understanding their natures well enough to not place them into situations where their instincts are going to lead to tragic results (for us *or* them).

Truly, Rottweilers are a great breed of dog, and have been unfairly maligned way too often. I ended up with one by sheer accident years ago (so kindly refrain from the "stupid macho owner" stereotype, please), and she's been the best dog I've ever known. And so have the many other Rottweilers I've come to know since. They are *not* slavering beasts eager to attack something. For just one example, when one of my Dachshunds beats up a toy that looks like an animal, my Rottweiler will sit nearby and look upset, until she finds an opportunity to *gently* sneak in and take it away when the Dachshund isn't looking. Then she'll carry it gingerly to her blanket, and lick it tenderly as if she's trying to soothe it. She's just a big ol' nursemaid. When people knock on the door, the Dachshunds bark their fool heads off -- and the Rottweiler sits there with a goofy grin on her face, wagging her (uncut) tail, eager to see whether the stranger might want to play. And this kind of behavior is hardly atypical for the breed.

As another example, this (partial) post from a Rottweiler-owner's forum, describing the behavior of an abused/neglected Rottweiler that she adopted, is hardly atypical either:

He was 8 months old - covered in fleas and scabs.. but truly beautiful. Brought him home - 2 hour ride from Cape May - he puked all over the car. Got him home and into a bath ASAP. Tried to clean his ears and he snapped - he could have taken my hand off but he didn't. His ears were all red and cruddy. At that moment he won my heart - no one was ever going to hurt him again - ever. [...] You guys were not around then so I had to depend on books and instinct and trial and error. My most memorable experience was house training. He peed and I smacked him on the nose with the newspaper (now I would smack myself). Cromwell gently took the rolled up newspaper out of my hand and shredded it. I figured out at that point, at was not the proper tactic to use with him.
Note that even an abused Rottweiler dealing with a new owner who had just hit him found a gentle, non-aggressive way to say, "don't do that..."

And as for the "macho owners" crack another poster made, all the Rottweiler owners *I* know personally are very mature and responsible people, who have gotten a Rottweiler for the breed's *good* points, not its reputation. And the same goes for all the ones who post on the Rottweiler forums -- without exception I have been impressed at how highly responsible and concerned they are about how to properly train and handle a large breed of dog (although admittedly, the more idiotic owners would probably not seek out such information forums in the first place).

I was in his clinic when he gave a stern lecture to a young couple who brought in an aggressive 9 month old pitbll. I think he told them to get another vet.

In my opinion, your brother is unfit to be a veteririnarian with that sort of attitude. If the dog was aggressive, he should help the owners learn to train it properly (and at 9 months, it's still just a puppy, with a lot to learn yet). If the dog was somehow uncontrollably aggressive (i.e., was an untrainable "psycho dog"), then he should have recommended euthanasia. But to just try to pass the problem on to some *other* veterinarian to deal with is incredibly irresponsible and unprofessional.

There are too many good breeds out there to take a chance on these 2.

I can't speak for pitbull terriers, as I haven't known many or researched the breed much (although I am concerned over the fact that they have indeed been bred to be fighters). But the Rottweiler *is* a "good breed" -- an excellent one, in fact, and I think you and your brother need to seriously re-examine your prejudices and ignorance regarding this breed.

32 posted on 06/28/2003 2:23:07 PM PDT by Ichneumon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Ichneumon
They're vicious killers, I tell you...

33 posted on 06/28/2003 2:32:05 PM PDT by Ichneumon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Bonaparte
The only reason not to own one of these [English Mastiffs] is the cost of feeding them and the copious amounts of gooey slobber all over your floors.

There are health concerns as well. Extra large dogs are very prone to hip displaysia and other problems. And many fully physically mature at 3 and die at 9 or 10. That doesn't leave too many years of healthy life, if they start deteriorating a couple years before death. I got lucky with my Newfoundlands --- both lived to 12, and neither suffered from any chronic diseases.

Newfs, Mastiffs, Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernards, Irish Wolfhounds .....most of the extra-large breeds are very friendly, with stable temperments.

34 posted on 06/28/2003 3:15:12 PM PDT by Mr. Mojo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: KantianBurke
Good looking Pugs there .....
35 posted on 06/28/2003 3:15:55 PM PDT by Mr. Mojo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Ichneumon
But the Rottweiler *is* a "good breed" -- an excellent one, in fact,

The problem with many of today's Rotts is that since their spike in popularity a couple decades ago, irresponsible backyard breeders have produced clearly genetically inferior dogs to those of the past. Combine that with irresponsible ownership, and it's a big problem. Of course there are still top-notch breeders who produce superior dogs and sell to responsible owners, but the backyarders sure have done quite a bit to ruin both the quality and reputation of the breed.

36 posted on 06/28/2003 3:23:43 PM PDT by Mr. Mojo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Ichneumon
Forgive me if I don't read all your very long post, I've heard it all before. "Sweetest dogs in the world bla bla bla", until they take a childs face off. I'll just say you have had your experience & my brother has had his, vet school & 35 years of private small animal practice in a large city. You have no authority to question his abilities as a vet. He does have the authority to tell the owners of the pitbull not to come back since the dog tried to attack his employees & small animals in his clinic. He may have advised the couple to euthanaize the dog, I didn't hear all of the conversation. I have (Jack Russell) Terriers. Terriers have probably bitten more kids than Rottweilers, its just not a life or death occurance when they do.
37 posted on 06/28/2003 4:39:00 PM PDT by Ditter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Mojo
You're so right about the big ones, MM. Got very attached to my father's Borzoi ("Igor") who died a cripple at the tender age of 14. He went from lightning fast to barely able to crawl to his bowl.
38 posted on 06/28/2003 9:02:04 PM PDT by Bonaparte
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Mojo
I agree that "backyarders" get into a lot of mischief. But let's not let the kennel clubs off too easy. Look what they did to the Smithfield collie.
39 posted on 06/28/2003 9:08:10 PM PDT by Bonaparte
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Bonaparte
You're right, the kennel clubs - especially the AKC - are far from innocent parties.

I don't know anything about the Smithfield Collie or its history. Was that the original (untampered) dog that we now call simply a 'Collie'?

40 posted on 06/28/2003 9:13:46 PM PDT by Mr. Mojo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-56 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson