Owners of Pit Bulls That Killed Young Girl May Get Their Vicious Dogs Back, Lawyer Warns of 'One-Free-Bite' Cases


The owners of two vicious pit bulls in North Carolina have requested that police release the dogs into their custody after they mauled a child to death and also attacked the child’s mother last month, according to a report.

Jayden Belle Henderson, a seven-year-old girl who had her entire life ahead of her, was caring for the two animals on April 27 in the community of Garner with her mother, a woman named Heather Trevaskis.

WRAL-TV reported the mother/daughter duo was caring for the dogs for their neighbors when — as too often happens with pit bulls — the animals snapped. Trevaskis, who survived the pit bull attack after being hospitalized for several days, said her daughter fell to the ground at some point, which led to the animals becoming aggressive.

“By the time I got down there, I realized that he was being vicious,” she said of one of the menacing animals.

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Trevaskis, who was hemorrhaging blood after being bitten multiple times, apparently watched on helplessly as her daughter was mauled. Jayden died not long after the attack, according to police in Garner.

“The seven year old female injured in the dog attack earlier this evening has died as a result of her injuries. Her mother remains hospitalized and in stable condition,” police noted in a post on Facebook. “Reports indicate the pair are neighbors who were helping care for the dogs, 2 pit bulls, while the owners were out of town.”

“The incident occurred in the dogs’ back yard, and the cause of the attack is not known. ‘This is a horrible tragedy for all involved. Our thoughts and prayers go out to both families and all those who responded,’ said Lt. McIver, CID Commander. We will update this case as more information becomes available,” the department page added in the post.

Do you think the dogs in this case should be put down?

Police did not say why they didn’t shoot the animals upon arrival. But here’s the update: according to WRAL, the owners of the two pit bulls, named Athena and Blitzen, have filed a request to have police release the dogs back into their home.

“On Monday, Joseph and Amanda White submitted a permit application to the Garner Police Department to designate the dogs as dangerous and to allow them to come home,” the outlet reported.

What did Joseph and Amanda White say in their application requesting to dangerous animals back? They reportedly went with the same defense of virtually every other aggressive pit bull owner — which is to essentially say that their animals had never before shown their inherently violent side

“This is out of nature for either dog to have hurt a human being,” the couple reportedly wrote.

The husband reportedly also blamed the small child for her own death, telling police that the girl and her mother did not have permission to be in the yard. WRAL’s reporting showed evidence that there was another side to that story.

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“Joseph White also asserted that Trevaskis and her daughter did not have permission to be in his yard while he and his wife were away. But a text exchange shows photos of Jayden playing with one of the dogs and White’s wife, Amanda, replying, ‘Thank you guys for playing with them,’” WRAL reported.

Even worse, is that WRAL reported they are likely to be released. A lawyer named Daniel Meier told the station the dogs will likely be sent home.

“North Carolina is what you call a one-free-bite case,” the attorney said. “The law allows folks to have their dangerous dogs as long as they comply with the rules.”

When applying to have their reportedly homicidal pets sent home, the owners agreed to “build a secure enclosure for the dogs; have microchips implanted in the dogs designating them as dangerous; pay a $500 dangerous dog permit fee; keep the dogs muzzled and leashed whenever they are outside; make sure the dogs are always under the control of a responsible adult license the dogs through the Town of Garner; and provide a certificate of insurance.”

Trevaskis, who will live with physical and emotional scars from the attack for the remainder of her life, doesn’t want her neighbor’s dogs sent back home.

“I love animals and I don’t have anything against a breed,” she stated. “I don’t think these specific dogs should go home. I couldn’t live with myself if something else happened to somebody else.”

Due to a newly passed law in Garner which gives owners of aggressive dogs wiggle room to prevent them from being put down, she might have to hear the barks of the animals which killed her daughter for the foreseeable future.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.