MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Many are calling for changes after the tragic deaths of two children who were killed by their family pets.
Wednesday evening, two children in Millington were killed and their mother was critically injured in a brutal attack at home by their pit bulls.
The dogs were confiscated by Memphis Animal Services and euthanized Thursday afternoon. Doctors say the mother is still in the hospital but she is now in stable condition.
Over the last decade, pit bulls have been a huge part of Marlo Matthews’ life.
“I know how loyal they can be. I know how loving they can be, but I also know how dangerous they can be,” he said.
Matthews has spent the last decade as a dog breeder. But, he recently decided to get out of the industry out of concern for his children’s safety.
“You are playing with your life when you have those in your house. Something may never happen but when it does, will you then be like I should have got rid of this problem,” he said.
A study from national dog bite victim’s group DogsBite.org found that 568 Americans were killed by dogs from 2005 to 2020. Pit bulls contributed to 67 percent of those deaths.
Currently, there is no ordinance banning pit bulls in Memphis or Shelby County, but Matthews hopes that changes soon.
“Something has to be done. A mandate an ordinance something has to be enforced to train these parents that these animals are far too dangerous to take the gamble around small children,” he said.
Since the attack, the Humane Society of Memphis told WREG they have been flooded with phone calls from concerned pet owners. Meanwhile, the discussions will continue about the future of these animals in the county.
“You have to make a conscious decision as a parent, what’s more important to you,” Matthews said.
This is not the first time people have been killed or critically injured by dogs in Shelby County.
In July 2019, a 40-year-old man was mauled to death by a pack of dogs in Southwest Memphis. Five months later, three dogs attacked a woman in North Memphis, which resulted in one of her legs being amputated.
In both instances, officials did not say what breed the dogs were.