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Is the Media a Reliable Source of Information on Dog

Attacks?

Consider the following articles in which a London man was reported to have
been “savaged to death when his pet Rottweiler turned on him” and how his
“demon dog launched a fatal attack.”

And if these headlines weren’t enough, the media reported fantastical tales
of a dog that purposefully was “banging his masters head on the ground”
and of crowds of 20 people, some with baseball bats, that were unable to
“drive the berserk beast away.”

Please note, on these pages, it will be necessary for you to scroll through
many of these “dog kills owner” articles to find out what really happened.

This is done intentionally to demonstrate how the reporting of fear is far


more abundant (and newsworthy), than the reporting of facts:

Also, please note the size of the photo and the font used in The Sun article below is the exact
size and font used on their website, and can still be found at:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/736518/Grandfather-Killed-by-rottweiler-On-
walk.html)

Sunday, 28 Fe
talkb

ack@the-sun.co.uk

Rottweiler Kills Owner

Savage ... a rottweiler


By BRIAN FLYNN
Published: 29 Jan 2008

Add a comment (71)

A GRANDFATHER was killed when his pet rottweiler tore off his face on a morning
walk.
Jim Rehill – who kept the dog for protection from yobs – was SLAMMED to the ground, DRAGGED by his
jacket and had his head repeatedly SMASHED into the pavement.
The beast chewed off the struggling 78-year-old’s fingers, along with his nose and flesh from his face.
Horrified bystanders tried in vain to drive the berserk animal away until a policeman grabbed a fire
extinguisher and sprayed it.
Armed colleagues shot the dog dead as it ran off.
Cab firm boss Lee Hanson, 41, said: “I saw a man face down with this dog standing over him.
It was grabbing his neck and lifting his head then banging it down really hard.
“The man was waving the dog off and telling it to let go. He was groaning. He could only move one arm. By
the end he didn’t have a face left.”
Neighbours said Jim, of Plaistow, East London, usually kept the powerful pet muzzled for walks.
A sign on his garden gate warns: “Beware of the dog. Enter at your own risk.” Bhupendra Karia, 30, said: “He
loved that dog. He’d had him at least ten years.”
Paul Greathead, 38, said: “He always had full control of the dog but it was unapproachable by anyone but him.
“Jim felt threatened living here. His car had already been targeted by thieves who took one of the wheels. The
dog was his protection. It’s tragic.”
Keen gardener Jim, who had two children and three grandchildren, was rushed to hospital after the 7.20am
attack on Sunday, but declared dead at 10pm.
b.flynn@the-sun.co.uk
Time to ban 'killer' dogs? Add your opinion below - 71 comments

Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/736518/Grandfather-Killed-by-rottweiler-On-


walk.html#ixzz0gpvEghdH

UK NEWS

MAN MAULED TO DEATH BY HIS OWN ROTTWEILER


Tuesday January 29,2008

By Mark Reynolds

WITNESSES told last night how a rottweiler savaged its owner to death in a busy street.
The dog repeatedly battered the man’s skull against the pavement, ripped off his fingers and chewed his
face.

Bystanders said the owner had fallen over and his pet was actually trying to help him back up.

The victim, named locally as Jim Rehill who was in his mid-50s, was walking the dog in Plaistow, east
London, on Sunday morning.
Aziz Rahman, 32, who saw the attack outside his house, said: “It was shocking. There was blood all over
the pavement. I couldn’t see the man’s face because it was covered in blood.

There was no nose and his fingers had been chewed off. It was horrible.

“He looked like a doll, the dog was pulling at him.”

About 20 people, some armed with bits of wood, gathered in the street and tried unsuccessfully to chase
the dog off.

It only gave up the struggle when a police officer sprayed it with a fire extinguisher. The dog was later
destroyed.

Lee Hanson, 41, who tried to get the dog off the victim, said it had been trying to pull his master up but
“didn’t know his own strength”.

He said: “He was grabbing his neck and lifting his head then banging it down really hard on the floor and
wall.

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/33059/Man-mauled-to-death-by-his-own-rottweiler

Dog kills owner in horror attack


Last Updated: Monday, 28 January 2008, 22:02 GMT

A 78-year-old man has


died hours after being
mauled by his rottweiler
dog as he lay on an east
London street.
Witnesses said James Rehill
"looked like a doll" as the
animal shook and bit him in
Plaistow, on Sunday
Police said the dog was "dangerously out
morning. of control"

Residents tried to free Mr


Rehill but it was only when police officers discharged six fire
extinguishers at the dog that it released its owner.
Mr Rehill was taken to hospital suffering from severe head
and facial injuries and died later that night.
Aziz Rahman, 32, saw the attack, which happened at about
0700 GMT, from his bedroom window.
Baseball bats
He said: "There was a man lying on the floor and a dog was
over him, licking and biting him.
"He looked like a doll, the
dog was pulling at him.

"There was blood all over his


face."
Mr Rahman described how
residents had tried to
distract the dog by hitting
baseball bats against a wall
A police officer used a fire extinguisher to
but the animal did not scare the dog off
respond.
He said: "There must have been 10 to 12 police cars but
nobody could do anything to get the dog off him.
"Eventually one officer used a fire extinguisher to scare the
dog off."
Police have launched an investigation into the death.
A police statement said armed officers were called because
the dog was "dangerously out of control".
Local taxi driver Bill Collins said he regularly saw the man
walking his dog but he did not believe the animal was a "mad
dog".
Newham Borough Commander Nick Bracken said: "This is a
very tragic incident and our thoughts today are obviously
with the family and friends of the deceased man."
He said his officers "put their lives at risk" to protect other
members of the public.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/7212727.stm

Mirror.co.uk

Rottweiler attacks owner on daily walk


By Tom Parry 29/01/2008
Grandad James Rehill was mauled to death when his pet Rottweiler suddenly turned on him during their
morning walk.
The snarling dog clamped its jaws around his head and repeatedly beat it against the pavement during a
savage 10-minute attack.
Passers-by tried to scare the crazed animal away with sticks but it refused to let go. One, cabbie Bill
Collins, said: "It was ripping him to bits."
Taxi firm boss Lee Hanson, 41, added: "It had the man's head in its jaws and was banging him harder and
harder against the concrete." But he said he believed the dog was trying to revive its owner after he
collapsed. He added: "He was trying to wake him." Dad-of-two Mr Rehill, in his 50s, was finally freed when
police turned a fire extinguisher on the animal. He died in hospital after the attack at West Ham, East
London, on Sunday.
Seconds before the mauling he was captured on CCTV walking the dog on a route to a park they took
every day. Mr Rehill had owned the Rottweiler, later destroyed by police, for 10 years.
His death comes a month after one-year-old Archie-Lee Hirst was killed by a pet Rottweiler in Leeds.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2008/01/29/rottweiler-attacks-owner-on-daily-walk-115875-
20301900/

Manchester Evening News

Owner killed by rottweiller


January 28, 2008
A PENSIONER was "dragged like a doll" through the street in a fatal attack by his dog.

Witnesses looked on in horror as railway engineer James Rehill, 78, was savaged by his rottweiler in Newham,
east London.

Residents armed with baseball bats desperately tried to free Mr Rehill as the dog inflicted horrific injuries to his
face and head.

It was only when police officers arrived and discharged six fire extinguishers that the dog was distracted and
released its owner.

Paramedics took the seriously injured man to Royal London Hospital after the incident at about 7am yesterday
but he died later that day.

Armed officers, who were called to the scene to protect the public, found the dog a short distance away and shot
it.

Metropolitan Police Commander Nick Bracken said: "This is a very tragic incident and our thoughts today are
obviously with the family and friends of the deceased man.

"This was a difficult situation to deal with but officers, fearing for the safety of other members of the public,
dealt swiftly to contain the dog - putting their own lives at risk in doing so."

The attack, in New City Road, Newham, has reignited the debate around the ownership of potentially dangerous
dogs.

One witness Aziz Rahman, 32, said dogs like rottweilers should not be allowed out in public.

He said: "It was like something you see in a TV programme. I heard some banging on the door. I looked out of
my bedroom window.

"There was a man lying on the floor and a dog was over him, licking and biting him. He looked like a doll, the
dog was pulling at him.

"From what I saw, it looked like he was attacking the man. There was blood all over his face."

Mr Rahman said the man was treated "like a piece of meat" and described the police officers who rescued him
as "heroes".
Frightened

He added: "My wife could not believe it. She got frightened. Now she's thinking it's fairly scary to go to the
local shops on her own."

But taxi driver Lee Hanson insisted that the dog was not attacking the man but trying to help him.

Mr Hanson, who often saw Mr Rehill walking the dog and described them as "best friends", said: "The man was
face down and the dog was trying to wake him up.

"The dog wasn't attacking him at all... it was his own dog. It was banging his head, trying to wake him up."

His colleague Bill Collins said he often saw the man walking the animal and did not believe it was a "mad dog".

Ryan O'Meara, the editor of K9 magazine who is campaigning for a dog ownership certificate, said the
circumstances of the attack are contradictory.

Mr O'Meara, a dog behaviourist who owns a rottweiler, said it would be unusual for a dog to suddenly turn on
its owner in such circumstances.

But speaking about the campaign, he said: "It is a debate worth having because the breed has got a reputation.

"There are still people who say banning the breed is the right thing to do. I am utterly convinced it is not.

"We have banned some breeds and we still have dog attacks. That did not work."

Mr Rehill's neighbour Albert Hunter, 69, said the dog was not aggressive but was big and strong.

He said: "I always knew him as Jim. He used to take the dog out for a walk every day and every night.

"I don't know why (the dog) suddenly went like that. It was never aggressive to anybody that I know of."

There was no answer at Mr Rehill's home, which has a large "Beware of the Dog" sign on the gate, tonight.

The Metropolitan Police said an investigation is under way into the fatal attack and a post mortem examination
will be held later this week.

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1034102_owner_killed_by_rottweiller

Grandfather mauled to death by his pet Rottweiler after he collapses in the street
By BEN CLERKIN
Last updated at 11:34 01 February 2008
A grandfather was mauled to death by his Rottweiler after he collapsed in the street.
The man, believed to be James Rehill, 78, fell to the ground while he was taking the dog for a walk.

Savage: The last steps of the victim before his demon dog launched the fatal attack
At first, the animal tried to revive its master by licking and pawing him, witnesses said.
But it became more and more agitated and started biting and mauling him.
Passers-by tried to scare the dog off by sounding car horns and banging sticks.
But it took no notice and continued to maul the retired labourer's face and hands.
The ten-minute attack, in Newham, East London, on Sunday, ended when a policeman fired a fire
extinguisher at the dog.
It was later destroyed by police marksmen.
The father-of-two was taken to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel but died on Sunday evening.
It is thought the dog was wearing a muzzle but that it somehow came off or broke.
Aziz Rahman, 32, saw the attack, which took place outside his house. He said the dog threw Mr Rehill
around like a "rag doll".
"At first, the dog was trying to wake him up, licking him, but it became distressed when he didn't get up
and started to bite him."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-510799/Grandfather-mauled-death-pet-Rottweiler-collapses-
street.html#
News

Dog kills owner in horror attack


01 February 2008

A pensioner was "dragged like a doll" through the street in a fatal attack by his dog.

Witnessed looked on in horror as railway engineer James Rehill, 78, was savaged by his rottweiler in
Newham, east London.

Residents armed with baseball bats desperately tried to free Mr Rehill as the dog inflicted horrific injuries
to his face and head. It was only when police officers arrived and discharged six fire extinguishers that the
dog was distracted and released its owner.

Paramedics took the seriously injured man to Royal London Hospital after the incident at about 7am on
Sunday but he later died.

Armed officers, who were called to the scene to protect the public, found the dog a short distance away
and shot it.

Metropolitan Police Commander Nick Bracken said: "This is a very tragic incident and our thoughts today
are obviously with the family and friends of the deceased man. This was a difficult situation to deal with
but officers, fearing for the safety of other members of the public, dealt swiftly to contain the dog - putting
their own lives at risk in doing so."

The attack, in New City Road, Newham, has reignited the debate around the ownership of potentially
dangerous dogs.

One witness Aziz Rahman, 32, said dogs like rottweilers should not be allowed out in public. He said: "It
was like something you see in a TV programme. I heard some banging on the door. I looked out of my
bedroom window.

"There was a man lying on the floor and a dog was over him, licking and biting him. He looked like a doll,
the dog was pulling at him. From what I saw, it looked like he was attacking the man. There was blood all
over his face."

Mr Rahman said the man was treated "like a piece of meat" and described the police officers who rescued
him as "heroes". He added: "My wife could not believe it. She got frightened. Now she's thinking it's fairly
scary to go to the local shops on her own."

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23434488-dog-kills-owner-in-horror-attack.do

But, What Really Happened?


What happened is the media seized on a tragic incident and made it into something it
clearly was not.
How terrible that an entire breed of dog has been maligned because of the media’s coverage of what
was a tragic case of a distressed dog reacting to the collapse of this owner – and a dog that became
increasingly frantic, certainly as a reaction to a frantic crowd of humans that made the dog feel even
more distressed and threatened.

Despite one of the witnesses’ claims- there were no heroes here.

There were only victims--- a man and his dog--- And a media that looked to exploit and demonize the
dog, and others of his breed, in order to further their agenda.

You have to wonder how Mr. Rehill, the true victim, would have felt about all of this had he survived.

Rest in peace Mr. Rehill. And may your dog, and your beloved companion, rest in peace too.

***
While the story of a “Rottweiler killing his master” was run in dozens of
media articles, with many of these stories hundreds of words long -
The following is the extent of the media coverage given to the facts:

st Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008, 19:17 GMT

E-mail this to a friend Printable version

Dog owner died of natural causes

A 78-year-old man
believed to have been
killed by his rottweiler
dog in east London died
from natural causes.
A post-mortem examination
has revealed that Jim Rehill
suffered a stroke moments
before the apparent attack.
The dog was killed by police near the
Witnesses said Mr Rehill scene

"looked like a doll" as the


animal shook and bit him in Plaistow, last month.
But the post-mortem examination held at East Ham mortuary
appeared to back claims from some witnesses that the pet
was trying to help the owner.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/7247816.stm