Dayton dog mauling death fuels pit bull debate

The mauling death of a Dayton man on Tuesday has rekindled the debate about if pit bulls pose more of a threat than other kinds of dogs.

Maurice Brown, 60, of Dayton, was killed after being attacked by a pit bull in an alley near 345 Middle St. The dog was shot and killed by police.

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His brother, David Brown, said pit bulls were bred to be vicious, and there’s no way his sibling did anything to provoke the dog that killed him.

“We’ve always, as a family — and I can speak personally — we don’t like those types of dogs,” Brown said. “People seem to want to try to make a lion into a kitty cat, and they are not that.”

But some animal advocates say the way dogs are raised, treated and socialized usually determine how they act and behavior.

Brown’s death is a tragedy, but it is unwise to judge a breed of dog based on the actions of one canine, said Jessica Garringer, marketing and PR manager for the Humane Society of Greater Dayton.

“We have many staff members who have pit bulls, and they are just the sweetest and most loving dogs in the world,” she said.

However, some groups claim pit bulls are inherently more risky than other types of dogs because of their size, strength and instincts.

PHOTOS: Scenes from fatal dog attack site in Dayton

Early Tuesday morning, a resident in northwest Dayton called 911 after hearing dogs barking and a man scream out for help.

Police responded to an alley behind 345 Middle St. and discovered a pit bull attacking Maurice Brown, officials said.

The dog could not be rounded up safely, and a police officer shot and killed the animal, police said.

Brown, who lived alone in an apartment in the neighborhood, died en route to the hospital.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office ruled Maurice Brown’s death an accident with the immediate cause being severe blood loss — clinically referred to as exsanguination due to extensive soft tissue trauma.

RELATED: A child was attacked by a dog at the same address in 2011

The dog came from the yard at 345 Middle St., which also contained three other dogs. Montgomery County officials said no owner has been identified. The three dogs are being held at the Animal Resource Center.

Maurice Brown liked to take walks every morning and collect cans, and he was a “smell the roses type guy,” his family said.

Maurice Brown served in the U.S. Air Force and previously worked in metallurgy, his family said. He was a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and a talented drummer, relatives said.

“He was a guy who lived life on his own terms,” his brother said.

Detectives indicated Maurice Brown died after struggling for minutes with a pit bull that broke loose from the yard of a nearby residence, David Brown said. Police indicated the dog ran free after breaking its chain.

David Brown said he knows that many people argue that any dog can become vicious if mistreated. But, he said, small dogs are unable to kill people.


Canines may partly be a product of their environment, but pit bulls were bred to fight and are capable of inflicting much more severe injuries than other types of dogs when they attack, said Colleen Lynn, founder of, which advocates for laws sterilizing pit bulls at early ages.

“We have herding dogs, we have pointing dogs, we have fighting dogs,” Lynn said. “Genetics do play a role.”

Lynn claims pit bulls are disproportionately responsible for fatal dog bite attacks in the United States.

A 7-month-old Dayton boy was killed in July 2014 after being mauled by a relative’s dog, which was an American Staffordshire terrier that officials referred to as a pit bull.

But some pit bull and animal advocacy groups said the dogs are misunderstood and get a bad reputation they do not deserve because owners train them to be mean or do not treat them well.

Bad owners and bad living environments tend to cause dogs to act aggressively or develop behavior problems, said Garringer, with the Humane Society.

Humane Society staff are dedicated to educating the community about pit bulls and how they can be wonderful companion animals in the right homes, she said.


Klonda Richey was mauled by dogs and killed on East Bruce Street on Feb. 7, 2014 when

Kimiko Hardy was convicted of manslaughter and other felony charges after her dog fatally mauled her 7-month-old stepgrandson in 2014.

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