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"The dog had the baby in its mouth": Update on pit bull attack, owner Sue Tacket's arrest

tristan.klein.pit.bull.attack.565x300.jpg
Tristan Klein, as seen in an image obtained by CBS4. Additional photos and videos below.
Update: Sunday night's pit bull attack on a toddler (see our previous coverage below) fueled an intense debate among readers about whether blame for the gruesome incident should be placed on the owner, the child's guardians or the dog's breed, which is banned in Commerce City, location of the attack, as well as the site of at least two controversial officer-involved dog shootings.

Zeus, the pit bull in question, died as police tried to wrangle it -- an outcome that breaks the heart of Sue Tacket, his owner, who remains in custody at this writing. Meanwhile, Tristan Klein, the nineteen-month-old hurt in the incident, is lucky to be alive following reports that Zeus leaped on the boy after he gave it a hug and took his head into his mouth.

See also: Two dogs killed by cops in Commerce City, site of two earlier officer-shoots-dog incidents

CBS4 reveals that Klein and Tacket were among a group of transients from Florida who have been traveling across the country. They made camp in a vacant lot not far from a Commerce City King Soopers.

pit.bull.attack.commerce.city.transient.jpg
The encampment, as seen in a CBS4 image.
In a jailhouse interview, Tacket told Fox31 that she'd watched young Klein approach Zeus throughout the day. Then, she took a bathroom break, leaving Zeus leashed to a pole -- and upon her return, she discovered that a dog she described as having never hurt anyone before had latched onto the boy's face and neck.

Said one witness who spoke anonymously to CBS4: "It was tough to come up there and see the dog had the baby in its mouth."

Commerce City cops who rushed to the scene had been trained to deal properly with aggressive dogs, a department spokesman says. However, Zeus asphyxiated as three officers struggled to control him after snaring him with catch poles.

sue.tacket.kdvr.jpg
Sue Tacket during a jailhouse interview with Fox31.
Tacket is taking the dog's death hard. She cried throughout her Fox31 interview, saying that he was the only thing that mattered to her in the world. She also expressed confusion about why she was in jail for, in part, violating a Commerce City ban on pit bulls she didn't know anything about until she was taken into custody.

At last report, Klein was in stable condition and is expected to recover, although he'll be hospitalized for several more days. Meanwhile, the Commerce City Police Department confirms that an investigation is underway into how the officers who responded handled the incident.

Look below to see Tacket's booking photo, followed by a CBS4 package and our previous coverage.

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Sue Tacket.

Continue for our previous coverage of the pit-bull attack on toddler Tristan Klein, including photos and a video.



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638 comments
Mary Beth Swanson
Mary Beth Swanson

I don't get angry very often but THIS really reinforces the idea that guardians/parents should be licensed B4 ANY child is born or placed in their care.

digitalgaia
digitalgaia

Pit Bull's are wonderful loving dogs and Pit owners are their own worst enemy. They do more to perpetuate the bad reputation of this class of dog than any other source. The fact they keep insisting that their dog would never attack anyone or it's the victims fault just goes to further the fear of this class of dog and makes them look like idiots. Rather than flame the publics fear of these dogs, they need to understand and agree that yes, these dogs are capable of catastrophic harm but here is how I try to make sure that the dog will never be put into a situation where it might attack someone.

What makes the Pit Bull Class of dog and mixes so dangerous are four things. Their physiology, style of attack, damage they do and gameness. The PB style of attack is unique to these breeds. Their wide jaws along with muscular chests, shoulders and necks enhance their style which is to grab on to muscle, shake their heads and never back down. This style of attack is not learned, it's genetic/instinctive, selectively bred into them and coupled with gameness, the ability to keep attacking in spite of severe pain, broken bones, blood loss and injury, is why these dogs do such catastrophic harm. Again, this style of attack is not learned, it's genetic/instinctive.

Temperament tests mean nothing .. it might indicate a propensity for aggressive behavior but that's all.

No amount of obedience training, socialization or how they were raised makes a particle of a difference on how the Pit Bull Class of dog attacks.

When a Pit Bull or mix is in a committed attack mode you can beat them over the head with a crowbar, stab them repeatedly with a knife, kick them, throw water on them, burn them even gouge their eyes out and it won't stop an attack in progress. They are impervious to pain when in attack mode. That's gameness and it has been selectively bred into these dogs and it's why they are the favorite dogs of dog fighters.

Here is the definition of 'gameness' found on one of the American Pit Bull Society sites a few years ago .. it has been understandably removed:

Gameness in the Pit Bull class of dogs is a canine virtue that is most akin to the human virtue of unflagging courage. It is a determination to master any situation and never back down out of fear. It was developed in pit bulls by many generations of selective breeding. It is what allows a pit bull to keep fighting non-stop for two or more hours, in spite of broken bones, torn muscles, blood loss, dehydration, and exhaustion. But it is also valued by Pit owners who would never think of fighting their dogs. It is manifested in the can-do attitude of pit bulls toward any type of challenge, whether agility competitions, climbing up trees, or protecting their family against an armed attacker, etc.

If you want to assign blame for the bad and unfortunately well deserved reputation of this class of dog, blame legitimate breeders and Pit Bull Societies which perpetuate this lethal style of attack through selective breeding specifically for this unique style of attack and gameness.

The tragedy is that Pit Bull's are really awesome, gentle dogs. They are not evil or mean. Stop blaming the dog and start blaming the people responsible, the breeders and owners who don't truely understand what these dogs are capable of. The dog is only doing what comes naturally.

Deena Duncan
Deena Duncan

The owner *and* the parents are responsible. If you leave a dog that is capable of ripping a child's jaw off in public and walk away, you are responsible. As for the parents, I would never allow my kids to hug any dog - dogs see grabbing the neck as pure aggression. All dogs, all the time. Some dogs handle it better. That is why some collars grab the dog's neck and pull down - the action is meant to dominate the dog and make to dog submissive - but some dogs cannot be forced to be submissive. As a dog owner, I never allow anyone, even my own kids, to grab our dog by the neck. People who don't understand dogs shouldn't own *or* approach them.

Vanessa Machado
Vanessa Machado

I have a 80 pound pit and he's grown up with my two boys! Would never hurt a person!! I say the parents are to blame!! Why weren't any adults watching this baby!!!! Sad, sad parenting.

Kelly Black Bailey
Kelly Black Bailey

The parents and the owner were negligent. The dog was tied up and probably scared and the parents should have been watching their child. Use some common sense!

Yolanda Walker
Yolanda Walker

Every Dogs Bite Can kill. They are dogs. They all have sharp teeth and strong jaws to tear through flesh. What you consider is immaterial to facts.

Jolena Thompson
Jolena Thompson

Any breed of dog, no matter its training or upbringing, is capable of "vicious behavior". Especially when a stranger just wanders up. Get a fucking clue idiots.

Jolena Thompson
Jolena Thompson

How about parents not letting their children to approach dogs they do not know. How about people use some fucking common sense. It's free. Get some.

myemeraccount
myemeraccount

I think firstly the owner of the dog is to blame for having a dog that is obviously vicious out in public, secondly the parents are to blame because they shouldn't have let their child wander around a parking lot and around another person's dog and thirdly is the dog because even though it was obviously not brought up right it knew what it was doing. As a responsible pet owner I would never own a vicious dog whether it be a chihuahua, lab, pitbull or any breed let alone take it out around people. The thought of this women being so selfish and neglectful just make me sick.

Marie Lioness
Marie Lioness

The parents and/or guardian. They didn't know that dog ,so why did they even let the child that close to the dog?!?!

Noah Bradley
Noah Bradley

This kid is pictured in a rusty wheel barrow. Parents are to blame for sure.

Auden Ledahl
Auden Ledahl

The parents should've been parenting. You don't let children mess with dogs you don't know. It doesn't matter if the breed is a pit bull or a golden. The dog doesn't know what's going to happen and the only way they know how to defend themselves is to bite or run away. Likewise, kids are idiots. Stop blaming the dog and take some responsibility. If you're a parent, BE ONE.

Aundra Thompson
Aundra Thompson

Why do you encite controversy about the breed of the dog when we all know any animal's behavior is a result of its training and upbringing. Why not educate people about dogs vs cause drama?!

Jon Acanfora
Jon Acanfora

You don't ever hear of Labs doing this....just throwing that out there.

Robert Duggan
Robert Duggan

The parents are to blame. I don't let my kids wander around King Soopers especially a toddler

Haydee Schabelski
Haydee Schabelski

I their bite has the capability to kill a person, I consider it a big enough dog.

Yolanda Walker
Yolanda Walker

What had happened to common sense? Common sense tells me to stay away from dogs I don't know while their owner is not around. 100% preventable if the "guardian" had used common sense.

Yolanda Walker
Yolanda Walker

Pit bull terriers not big. They are medium sized dogs and can be very sweet like any dog. Also like any dog they can be vicious if taught to be that way.

Tammy Marie Garcia
Tammy Marie Garcia

I have a beautiful male pit he bit someone breaking into my house in the middle of the night. My dog is the biggest 100lb. baby my grandkids ride him like a horse, lay on him, dress him up, but I would never let a child approach him with out me being there. you never know what could trigger any dog to bite. its not the breed but how people train them to be.

Jennifer Berry Wilson
Jennifer Berry Wilson

OK..I'll play the blame game...I'll tell you whose NOT at fault..the dog!! Yell at me all you want, but if you have a dog you know that they act how they are trained. First of all the owner should not have left her alone..second.. The guardians of the child should not have let him hug the dog. Especially after she growled and barked. That was her warning to stay away!!! The dog probably wasn't socialized... She she paid the price for owner stupidity.... Once again!

gbb1013
gbb1013

Pit bull advocates.  Please don't spend too much time on this pit bull mauling news story.  There are at least 3 others that have come up since this occurred.  Pibbles needs your expert pit bull propaganda and maul talk on the other pit bull attacks.

gbb1013
gbb1013

"Then, she took a bathroom break, leaving Zeus leashed to a pole -- and upon her return, she discovered that a dog she described as having never hurt anyone before had latched onto the boy's face and neck."


Ah, she did it.  The famous pit nutter quote after a mauling or killing, "she described as having never hurt anyone before"


They ALWAYS say this.

Rodger Mathena
Rodger Mathena

Its the stupid parents fault! And the owners of the dog shouldnt be leaving their dog chained up outside!

Katie Betsworth
Katie Betsworth

The dog is dead... By the hands of ACOs because he was so terrified of what was going on, he strangled himself.. The child will live.. Scarred but a little more cautious. That woman will have to live her life without her dog, and feeling guilt of what happened. Let's move on and stop blaming whomever we can point a finger to and use these mass media attacks as a learning lesson. We are feeding right into their troll trap.

Katie Betsworth
Katie Betsworth

My friend has a 100 pound pittie that wouldn't hurt a fly.. Nicest dog in the world.

justsayin
justsayin

One of the main reasons that we hear about pit bulls more than other dogs, is due to the damage that comes from a single bite of a pit is different than that of any other breed.  Typically, dogs will snap at someone, bite and release, leaving puncture wounds and possibly broken bones. When a pit bull bites, it latches on and literally tears off whatever is in it's jaw's grip.  The damage done is often times permanently disfiguring, at the least.  If one survives, they look forward to many painful reconstructive surgeries that will likely lie ahead.  That is why it is often we only hear about this breed, it's the difference in their bite that makes it so much more horrific.  . 


Jena Stanfield-Dutton
Jena Stanfield-Dutton

I am so sorry for that baby, however the parents should be teaching their children to always ask before approaching dogs. I cannot tell you how much I remind my kids ( 5 & 8) that you NEVER EVER just go up to a dog and start petting. Always ask the owner first. Even if the owner says its okay, he's nice, I stand right next to my children and watch the dogs body language, and if I sense something or the dog is not wagging its tail, we walk away. Parents need to teach their kids the correct way to approach a dog.

Danielle Dansky Andreozzi
Danielle Dansky Andreozzi

The child's guardians you don't randomly pet a dog you don't know. Especially if there is no owner around. To the owner if your dog can be violent you shouldn't be tying him outside alone unattended

stefanie.klatt
stefanie.klatt

It is unfortunate that Westword would allow its comment section to be hijacked by two fools @mccartney_t_a  and @DonkeyHotay who obviously have an agenda they are trying to promote and are spewing information that has been repeatedly debunked, but they continue to post their propaganda along with photos that are meant to shock in hopes that if they keep repeating their skewed information someone will believe them.  The vast majority of sane individuals on here have expressed the opinion that there is blame to go around with everyone involved in this matter - which is typically the case with all dog bites.  If anyone is looking for actual facts regarding dog bites and Breed Specific Legislation, here is a link to the National Canine Research Council's recently released research regarding dog bite statistics and prevention tactics http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/publications/541422429_Dog%20Bites%20Problems%20and%20Solutions%202nd%20Edition.pdf


As I always say - for the instances of dog bites by pit bulls, there are thousands and thousands of pit bulls living in homes with children who have never been aggressive and have never hurt anyone, yet we rarely hear about those dogs.  Sometimes we do in instances where a pit bull has saved the lives of their owners, or have gone from an abusive background to becoming a therapy or rescue dog.  There are many more of these stories than pit bull attack stories, they just don't get reported in the media as much.  Anyone who has known a pit bull and spent time with one knows that the vast majority of them are sensitive, loving animals who are willing to forgive humans for the horrors they inflict upon this breed on a daily basis.  I could post a million pictures of pit bulls that have been forced to fight and have had their faces ripped off because of humans, but I guess what humans do to the pit bull doesn't matter. 

doglover
doglover

@digitalgaia What do you say about a dog who genetically doesn't have these characteristics yet is very untrustworthy?  One must take into account the fact of how the dog (of any breed) was raised. We had a dog who's breed has never had any 'attack characteristics' bred into them. And yet, because she was abused by her previous owners, she never was good around children mostly but also any stranger. Thankfully in her last year with the help of knowledge gained from Cesar Milan's methods, we were able to rehabilitate her. We only wish we'd have known how to help her earlier in her life.


It's not all about the breed: it's as much if not more how the dog was raised.

gbb1013
gbb1013

@digitalgaia The problem is the aggression, style of attack, gameness, and other breed specific behaviors is what defines the pit bull dog.


If those traits do not exist, it is no longer a pit bull.  There's no theory that if those traits are bred out, after 20 generations it will even look like a pit bull...it will not only lose its behavioral traits, it will lose physical ones also.  Therefore, it most likely will not look like a pit bull.

digitalgaia
digitalgaia

... And you Vanessa are part of the reason Pits have such a bad reputation "I have a 80 pound pit and he's grown up with my two boys! Would never hurt a person!". Any dog owner that would say that about any dog, doesn't need to be owning a dog in the first place, especially a Pit Bull Class of dog.

You are a  totally clueless and irresponsible Pit owner if you truly believe your dog would never attack anyone.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Yeah, the mean old parents should have better watched their child around a "peaceful" pit bull. 

dverygrateful
dverygrateful

your right.  yet parents choose to travel with dogs that have parvo, and camp near people in parking lots they dont know. Parents are the ones who should be going to jail. This kid deserves better.

doglover
doglover

Your points are good Jolena. However maybe keeping the F word out of your comments may allow others to see your well-stated points. Just a thought......

myemeraccount
myemeraccount

Not to condone it but my brother used to push me around in a rusty wheel barrow, things were a lot different when I was a kid though. Even the color yellow is harmful these days. 

myemeraccount
myemeraccount

That's because new stations only care about shock factor and ratings. They are only interested in stories about pitbulls or rotties or these so called "vicious" breeds. 

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@stefanie.klatt


The donkey boy and mccartney are one in the same person, sweet cheeks.  Try to keep up.  

mccartney_t_a
mccartney_t_a

@stefanie.klatt


What about this do Pit bull advocates not understand.???????????
over 45,000 killings last year of Human Beings, pets, livestock etc. is NOT acceptable, get it.!!

If 45,000 cars were killing a person or pet or livestock a piece then that car would be banned even if there were 5 million more of them that harmed no one.!!!!!

If there were 30,000 drunk drivers involved in incidents with over 17 million not involved
(over 1.5 million drunk drivers arrested every year in the US) as over 30,000 pit bull type dogs were involved with attacks last year, with 3,170,000 pit bull type dogs that WEREN'T involved in attacks?

Would there still be a BAN on drunk Drivers?

Oh wait..................Hummmmmmmmmm there is one isn't there, Ooops you be so busted.!!!

More then 70,000 attacks by pit bull type dogs last year against people, pets and livestock of which resulted in over 45,000 deaths of Human Beings, pets, livestock etc. by over 30,000 pit bull type dogs in those attacks with the number likely double this year that Kill, Maul, Maim, Disfigure, Dismember, cause Life Flights or trips to the Intensive Care Unit.

With a human being usually am child killed every 7 days this year, what about those numbers do you NOT understand Pit Nutters??????

mccartney_t_a
mccartney_t_a

@stefanie.klatt


When anyone is evaluating research the first thing that should be noted is who paid for it. The second thing is who actually did the research, who do they work for, who signs the paychecks of these people. 

In the case of the NCRC (National Canine Research Council)(http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/) the research is paid for by extreme pit bull advocacy, the AFF (Animal Farms Foundation). Who did the research? 

A professional breed specific advocate, Karen Delise,
http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/about-us/staff/
she is an employee of the AFF 
http://animalfarmfoundation.org/) and is paid by Jane Berkey. 

(http://cravendesires.blogspot.com/.../fuck-you-jane...) 
(http://andfostermakesfive.com/.../animal-farm-foundation.../

When Karen is unable to identify a pit bull from a photo she sends the photo to Amy Marder 

(http://abrionline.org/expert.php?id=80

DVM, another individual closely tied to the AFF. 

"Research" created by and funded by the AFF should be given the same attention as the "research" funded and completed by product defense companies paid by Big Tobacco who went looking for "scientists" to deny the connection between smoking and lung cancer. 

The AFF is in competition with the tobacco lobby for shameless self promotion. Unfortunately, the AFF has a LOT of money and uses it to pay lobbyists to influence legislators.

mccartney_t_a
mccartney_t_a

@stefanie.klatt


The Pit Nutters exposed credo:

Media manipulation is their watchword, their attempts to give their mutants a make over can not hide the evil in their eyes nor the moral stench that exudes from their being, pit bulls are one of satan's more natural creations, a set of horns and pitchfork would have been a far more appropriate visual reality presentation then the cute pitty poo farcical misrepresentations they present to the public.

Hot.Sauce
Hot.Sauce topcommenter

So what's your agenda?

digitalgaia
digitalgaia

@doglover @digitalgaia You missed the point. How these PB or any dog for that matter are raised may have a bearing on it's propensity for aggression but has nothing to do with the style, the way these dogs go about attacking.


The grab, shake and never back down (gameness) style is what makes Pit Bulls so dangerous. PB's unlike most other dogs rarely give warning bites. Once they get a good hold, they won't let go. That's when dog fights apparently get boring and 'break sticks' are used to literally force open the jaws of a locked in PB.

elaine.s1621
elaine.s1621

Sorry, didn't mean to post that so much, didn't think it was working

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