A St. Claire Missouri woman has tragically died after being attacked by a trio of dogs outside of a relative’s home on Monday, December 6th. According to Franklin County, Missouri Sheriff Steve Pelton’s Office, deputies located the victim, identified as Leann Gratzer, lying in the front yard of her relative’s home and pronounced her dead at the scene due to her injuries, she was 61-years-old. Authorities have reported that Gratzer was traveling on foot to a nearby relative’s home when she was set upon by three dogs and mauled.
Mauled To Death
Local Fox affiliate Fox2 reported that “three dogs were involved in the attack, two males and a female. He said two of the dogs are ‘Pitbulls’ and one is a mixed breed. He confirmed the dogs were turned over to the sheriff’s department.”
“My heart goes out to that whole family suffering that tragedy,” Pelton said.
Sheriff Pelon was unable to confirm any relationship between the dog’s owner and the victim Ms. Gratzer, however, all parties involved are cooperating with law enforcement.
A note on the “American Pit Bull”:
It should be noted that the term ‘pit bull’ is often an overly generalized misnomer referring rather to the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, the American bulldog, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These breeds are muscularly dense, short-haired breeds and typically weigh between 30-60lb.
This incident is particularly tragic as the American bulldog breed is well renowned particularly in St. Claire, where it is the de facto city mascot representing intramural teams, schools and even appearing on the police department’s patch. However, this breed is one of the several frequently misconstrued as a ‘pitbull’.
The United Kennel Club gives this description of the American Pit Bull dog: “The essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit some level of [inter]dog aggression and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog. The breed’s natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. This breed does very well in performance events because of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work.”
Regrettably, the overly broad descriptor of ‘pit bull’ has been badly overutilized in the media and by law enforcement and fed an unfortunate hype and reputation of viciousness in the breed. The specific breeds of the dogs that mauled Gratzer are unknown.