Ving Rhames' Caretaker Dead, Dogs Suspected
Here is the case everybody will be talking about today. I know you'll read and hear about it elsewhere so I want to point out some important points before the anti-dog media jumps in and further muddies the water and the reputation of some fine dog breeds.
First of all, thanks to CNN for having the AKC representative on last night. She did a great job of allaying fears and keeping Anderson Cooper straight on the topic without allowing him to start into Breed Specific rhetoric. I noticed he had to ask if there are breeds that are inherently dangerous. CNN producers were ready with pictures of abused pit bulls.
Oh come on, CNN. How classless of you! There's a possible dog mauling and you just had to waltz out pit bull pictures! So the next time you run a story on Michael Vick are you going to show pictures of Arkansas doghoggers? Hey, they're both people involved in abusing dogs, aren't they?
I also want to offer my condolences to the caretaker's family and friends and the Rhames family.
Here are some points to consider:
We have heard of no history of aggression. In fact, one of those interviewed said his child played with the dogs.
The caretaker had been working with the dogs for two years with apparently no problems. It would be highly unlikely for one or more of the dogs to become aggressive now without some unusual outside occurance.
If anyone has any information on this case, please feel free to bark in!
Thanks to the LA Times for this article.
Caretaker, mauled by dogs, found dead at actor's home
Police say the man, who was employed by Ving Rhames, may have died of natural causes.
By Ari B. Bloomekatz and Andrew Blankstein, Times Staff Writers
August 4, 2007
A caretaker at the Brentwood home of actor Ving Rhames was found dead early Friday after being mauled by at least two of the actor's dogs, identified by authorities as bullmastiffs, Los Angeles police said.
The body of the man, whose name was not immediately released, was found about 7 a.m. in the frontyard of the home in the 12900 block of San Vicente Boulevard by one of Rhames' relatives, police said. The victim, in his 40s, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The caretaker, who lived on the property and took care of the dogs, had worked for the actor for two years, Lt. Ray Lombardo said. Rhames, who starred in the "Mission: Impossible" movies with Tom Cruise, was working on a film in Germany and could not be reached for comment.
Animal control officers dispatched to the home seized four canines including three bullmastiffs and one English bulldog that belong to Rhames, authorities said. The dogs were placed under quarantine pending the outcome of the investigation.
The Los Angeles County coroner's office had not yet determined the cause of death. Detectives said it was possible that the victim died of a heart attack or other medical condition.
But Lombardo said all indications were that the caretaker, who suffered multiple bite wounds, was fatally attacked by the mastiffs. They were described by authorities as "big as the lions at the circus."
Rian Lidschin, 66, Rhames' next-door neighbor, said a bullmastiff named Bruno weighs about 200 pounds. His daughter, Sarah, said she saw Rhames and his children playing with the dogs on their front lawn about two weeks ago.
"They were perfectly friendly," she said. "I personally was not afraid of his dogs."
Authorities are unsure of the circumstances of the mauling, but they said it appeared that the attack occurred sometime overnight when the caretaker was in an open area of the sprawling property, between a guest house and the main living quarters.
One theory is that after the dogs' attack, the caretaker fled through a fence that divided the property, police said. The man was able to close a gate behind him, locking the dogs on the other side of the fence. He then passed out from his injuries without anyone knowing, Lombardo said.
Neighbors said they never heard any cries for help.
If mauling did cause the caretaker's death, it would be at least the 14th time this year that someone in the United States was killed in a dog attack, said Richard H. Polsky, a West Los Angeles-based animal behaviorist who runs the website fataldogattack.com.
There are about 25 to 30 deaths from dog attacks each year, he said.