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Euthanizing first, asking questions later

Ohio executed an innocent dog.

Carolyn Baker, 63, of Cleveland Heights, died of a heart attack in Feburary — not from being mauled by the family Rottweiler, the News-Messenger reported today.

Baker was found dead at her back steps, wearing only a thin polyester nightgown and boots, with bite marks on her arms and shoulder. That, apparently, was enough for the police, and subsequently the press, to indict Zeus, the family’s 9-year-old, 140-pound Rottweiler.

“Cleveland Heights Woman Dies Afer Being Attacked by Rottweiler,” one headline read. “POLICE: Woman Mauled to Death by Dog,” shouted another. “Woman Found Mauled to Death by Pet Rottweiler,” concluded a third.

As ohmidog! reported in February,  police and, in turn, the news media, may have jumped the gun — perhaps a little too eager to place blame on a dog because of his breed, which is, of course, nothing new.

Zeus was seized by authorities and impounded, despite the family’s contention that the dog was actually trying to rescue the woman, and that any bite marks were a result of him trying to drag her back to the house.

It took almost six months, but now Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller says there were few dog bites on Baker, that she died of a heart attack and hypothermia, and that her injuries indicated “the dog was trying to help her.”

Had the results come in sooner, Zeus might still be around.

The Cleveland Municipal Court ordered him destroyed in April.


Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time May 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Poor Zeus! And his poor family; he would have given them a lot of consolation after the loss of their mother. There’s nothing to be done about it now. I can only hope that he and his human are together in a better place.

Comment from JillyBean
Time May 20, 2010 at 8:08 am

How very, very sad to always assume the worst with certain breeds. Had Zeus been a Lab, he’d most likely still be around today.

Comment from Lynn
Time May 20, 2010 at 1:03 pm

That’s really sad 🙁 and it seems odd that it took 6 months for the truth to come out

Comment from Dog Lover
Time May 20, 2010 at 6:39 pm

yep thats sure typical kill first ask questions later. had they actually took notice of the dog bites they most likliey would have come to the conclusion that the dog bites were not suffecint to have killed the woman especially if it had missed a main artery. stupid people piss me off.

Comment from Dee
Time May 21, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Having been a Rottie and Pit Bull owner, I’ve personally experienced tremendous prejudice against these breeds no matter how stellar their behavior. I attribute most of it to fear, and most of that is driven by media hysteria. Please, if you see irresponsible reporting that blames breeds unfairly or unnecessarily, WRITE YOUR MEDIA OUTLETS. Be nice, be polite, be factual, otherwise they’re less likely to listen, but take the time to WRITE. Unless/until this hypocrisy is pointed out, it will never change and dogs like Zeus will pay with their lives.

Comment from Scott Taylor
Time June 4, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I’d encourage all of you to join the fight against out-of-control animal control by joining Justice for Bella on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-for-Bella/112769172098103

This is a horrible story, and just one more on a mountain of them.

Together, we can bring about change!