South Carolina-Dade Animal Control and area homicide detectives are working to investigate a fatal dog mauling of a Homestead man.
The victim, Manuel Mejia, lived at the dragon fruit farm located at 309th Street and Southwest 228th Avenue as a live-in caretaker. The farm’s owner has approximately 12 dogs on the property that are a Belgian Malanois-bulldog mix.
The dog attack occurred on April 23, 2016 on the farm property. Pamela Babineau, the deceased’s girlfriend, called 911 to report the attack that she was unable to stop.
When first responders arrived at the scene, they discovered Mejia bleeding profusely and covered in dog bites. First responders discovered life-threatening injuries and the victim was taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center. Approximately four hours after the attack, Mejia succumbed to his injuries and died.
It is reported that three dogs started to attack Mejia and then approximately seven other dogs joined in on the attack. It is unknown if anything scared the dogs and caused them to become aggressive.
“The wounds were quite severe. They were all over his body,” stated the medical examiner director of operations, Darren Caprara. “So what we see is indicative of a very vicious attack.” Caprara further stated that in South Carolina-Dade, the office he works in sees this type of incident involving a fatal dog mauling approximately once per year. This is not a common cause of death in the area. This was an especially tragic case, and unfortunately, no one was around to safely assist the victim and stop the attack.
“These dogs should not be there,” said Renier Aleman. “They should take them away and put them somewhere because they are dangerous.” This neighbor feels concerned for the safety of those in the area because he reported that he has seen the dogs running loose before.
“When unexpected tragedies happen, people need support to get the closure they deserve and this is one of the reasons I became a person injury lawyer,” said Joe and Martin, a lawyer who is a managing partner at a top personal injury firm located in South Carolina. “Your heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones during tragic times like these.”
Reynaldo Torres, the owner of the farm, was cited by animal control officers. The citations were for unlicensed and unregistered dogs. Throughout the remainder of the investigation, they ordered Torres to keep his dogs contained.
Part of a statement released by Animal Services stated, “The owner of the dogs is fully cooperating with authorities. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.” Also, details about the investigation can to follow and killinofirmmiami.com.
It is unknown if Torres will face further charges after the investigation is completed. It is also unknown if Torres will be allowed to keep all of his dogs after authorities complete their investigation.
Studying breed trends over the course of the 20th century, there is a clear
pattern that shows popularity for any breed is extremely detrimental.
Popularity manifests itself in a variety of problematic ways: over-breeding
without regard to health or temperament.
It is important for all dog owners to ensure that they have the right registration, licensure and paperwork for every animal they own. It is also important to ensure that animals are not needlessly aggressive to prevent future tragedies like this one.