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10 Horrifying Times Dogs Killed People

by Shannon Quinn
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Dogs are generally some of the sweetest creatures on the planet, and it’s very difficult to imagine them doing any harm to a human being. However, even the biggest dog lovers have to admit that no matter how much these fur babies feel like our children, they are still animals. It’s important to remember that sometimes, natural instincts are bound to kick in.

Inside every dog, there is still a wild animal that has the potential to attack. For people have cynophobia, or the fear of dogs, these ten stories of dogs killing people will most definitely justify their hesitation when they come face-to-face with someone’s pet.

10 Dog Shoots Owner

It was a bitterly cold January 2018 in the remote Saratov region of Russia. A 64-year-old man named Sergei Terekhov was hunting rabbits with his brother and his dog. After he was finished, he sat down and laid his double-barreled shotgun on his knee, with the barrels pointed toward himself. His Estonian Hound wanted some affection after the successful expedition, so it jumped into his lap. Its paw accidentally set off the gun, which shot Terekhov in the gut.

The stomach is supposedly one of the most painful places to get shot. Terekhov’s brother called for an ambulance and tried to stop the bleeding while they waited for help to arrive. Unfortunately, Terekhov was bleeding profusely, and they were both exposed out in the open to the freezing cold. Terekhov died before the ambulance was able to take him to a hospital.[1]

9 Dog Drowns Child

In 1936, a 14-year-old boy named Maxwell Breeze from Brockport, New York, was swimming in a local canal when a dog swam up to him and started to attack him and force him underwater. He drowned, and local witnesses blamed the dog for his death.

At that time, animals were still being put on trial when things went wrong. The dog snoozed through most of the court proceedings. There was an audience of over 500 people eager to know what the outcome would be. In the end, the judge ordered the dog to spend two years confined to his owner’s house and backyard. If he was ever to be seen in public during his probationary period, the dog would be sentenced to death.

The mother of the little boy was so angry at this that she said that she wished she had a gun so that she could kill the dog herself.[2]

8 Pack Of Strays Devour Little Boy

For years, there were no laws that prevented dogs from roaming the streets unaccompanied. Without dogcatchers and the daily message from The Price is Right to spay and neuter your pets, there were packs of dogs roaming neighborhoods all over the United States. These dogs were wild and hungry.

In 1959, a two-and-a-half-year-old toddler was playing in a vacant lot next to his family home in the suburbs of St. Louis when a pack of ten feral dogs surrounded him and began to attack. He died, and the dogs chewed on his body. The boy’s parents heard the commotion, and the father started beating the dogs with a club. The alpha male pounced on the father, who was just barely able to pick up the limp body of his little boy off the ground.

People in the neighborhood formed an angry mob, grabbing their guns and pitchforks to go after these wild dogs to avenge the young boy’s life. For the rest of the week, locals would call into their local police station every time they saw a dog walking around. No one was sure if these dogs were truly feral or if they were people’s pets that were allowed to roam.[3]

7 Wolf-Dog Hybrid Kills Baby

Over the years, there have been dozens of horrifying cases of dogs killing newborn babies. Sometimes, it is blamed on jealousy the dog feels about no longer being the baby of the family. Other times, it seems as though the dog may think the baby is a new toy. At this point, it should be common sense to never leave a dog alone with an infant, regardless of its breed but especially if it’s part wolf.

A family in Jonesville, Virginia, had just brought their new baby home from the hospital in March 2018. They owned a very large wolf-dog hybrid who had never encountered an infant before. One day, the door to the nursery was left open. The dog stood over the bassinet and began mauling the upper half of the eight-day-old baby’s body. Sadly, the infant did not survive.

The parents took the dog to the pound, and it was euthanized.[4]

6 Pack Of Pit Bulls Maul Man

All De’trick Johnson wanted was to get his car worked on. He called ahead to a local business in Pine Pluff, Arkansas, called CJ’s Garage one afternoon in March 2015 to make an early morning appointment for a service on his car. The owner, John Chester Smith, encouraged him to come on down, and he promised he could get the job done early in the morning before Johnson had to work.

When Johnson showed up to CJ’s Garage, he was met by a pack of seven pit bulls. They were all angry, barking viciously at him when he got out of his car. He knew that he was no match against the dogs, so he tried to climb on top of his car. The dogs jumped up on the vehicle, pulling his legs to the ground. He knew that his only chance was to run, but the pit bulls caught up with him.

It turns out that several people had been bitten by the guard dogs at CJ’s Garage, yet the owner had done nothing about it. The dogs were set loose after the incident, and local sheriffs had to hunt them down before they could hurt anyone else. They were able to capture two of the dogs and bring them to a shelter, but the other five were so vicious and violent that they had to be shot.[5]

5 Dogs Kill Their Owner

In December 2017, Bethany Stephens was taking her two pit bulls on a walk in the woods behind her home in Virginia. She had raised the dogs since they were puppies, and according to friends and family, they had a great, loving relationship. This was their normal routine to get some exercise. They walked about 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) into the woods. For whatever reason, the dogs decided to attack Stephens.

When her body was found, it had deep bite wounds all over, including a punctured skull. The police called the scene “grisly,” and they had a very hard time recovering her body from the dogs, who were still guarding it and growling.

Family and friends were in such shock that they were in complete denial that the dogs actually killed her. They theorized that maybe someone had murdered Stephens in the woods, and the dogs only bit her in an attempt to wake her up. The rumors spread like wildfire all over social media, and people began to believe them.[6]

The police became so fed up with these rumors that they released the crime scene photos to local media outlets to set the record straight. Once you see the scene, there is absolutely no doubt that the dogs did it. According to those who have seen the body, the carnage was unlike anything they had ever seen before.

4 Boerboels Kill Breeder

Photo credit: Smok Bazyli

Boerboels, also known as South African Mastiffs, are some of the biggest, strongest dogs that exist on the planet. Apparently, they were specially bred from mastiffs to be so strong that they can take on a lion. The breed is very rare in the United States because not many people are looking for a guard dog on that level.

In 2017, a woman from Asheville, North Carolina, named Jane Marie Egle imported six Boerboels with plans to breed puppies and sell them on the Internet. She didn’t know how to properly train or socialize these mammoth dogs, and they became aggressive.

One day, Egle’s daughter came home from school to see her mother lying on the floor bleeding. When she tried to get through the front door to help her mom, a Boerboel began aggressively barking at her, and she was afraid to enter her own house. She had to call 911 for help.

When police arrived, they made several attempts to enter the home without hurting the dog, but they were forced to kill it in the process of getting to Egle’s body. They checked for a pulse, and sure enough, Jane was dead. Local authorities called in an expert in dog aggression to help pacify the remaining canines, but she said that that their behavior was the most terrifying she had ever experienced in her 20-year career.[7]

3 Fox Terrier Rips Master’s Throat

Not all dog-related deaths come from large, stereotypically dangerous breeds. All the way back in 1901, people had trouble figuring out what to do during medical emergencies, such as epileptic seizures. A New York woman named Carrie Cobus began having a seizure and fell to the floor. Carrie’s mother was panicking and threw water on her daughter’s face, as if that would help snap her out of it.

Their tiny pet fox terrier was nearby, yapping at Carrie as she lay shaking on the floor. According to the newspapers, the dog “went mad” and lunged at her throat, puncturing her jugular. Carrie’s mother tried to pry the dog away from her daughter, but it would not let go. She had to pick up a fire poker and stab the dog, chasing it out of the house, never to be seen again. Carrie lost far too much blood from the attack, and she died.[8]

2 Pet Murders His Boy

We all know that dogs are loyal to their owners, but it is very rare to see a situation where a dog would have to choose between a fellow canine and its boy. Back in 1939 in Oklahoma, a woman named Fern Smith was with her four-year-old son and their large pet dog on her property. She had to retrieve a bucket of water from the outdoor pump and let her son play with the dog while she finished her chores.

The little boy spotted a small stray dog and began playing with it. The boy stuck a sack over the stray’s head and laughed as it tried to escape. Despite the fact that the large dog had protected its boy all his life, it apparently could not stand to watch the child abusing the stray for one second longer. It lunged at his neck and picked him up like a rag doll. Doing so punctured the boy’s jugular. The mother saw what was happening and ran screaming toward her son. She managed to beat the large dog away, but it was too late.[9]

1 Dog Kills Mother And Son

In Germany, they banned the importation and breeding of pit bulls, Staffordshire terriers, and the Tosa Inu in the year 2000 because there was a string of attacks from the breeds. They are considered to be far too dangerous for people to own. That did not stop one family in Berlin from acquiring a Staffordshire terrier as a pet. In March 2018, someone was walking by their house, and they sensed that something was not quite right. They peeked through the window and noticed a woman and man lying on the floor of their kitchen. They called the police, most likely suspecting that they were victims of a violent crime.

When the police got there, they realized that the 52-year-old mother and her 27-year-old son were both killed by their dog. A forensic expert examined the bodies to rule out the possibility that a human could have done this and concluded that the dog was, in fact, the killer. Without any witnesses, no one actually knows what happened to provoke the dog to kill its owners or how it managed to to take down two adults on its own.[10]

Shannon Quinn is a writer from the Philadelphia area. You can find her on Twitter @ShannQ.

fact checked by Jamie Frater