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Dog Breeder Mauled to Death by Pit Bulls in Compton, California

On Friday, February 16, 2024, Dominic Cooper, a dog breeder who resided in Compton, California, was mauled to death by his group of Pit Bulls. He was attacked around 7:30 pm PST, with reports of the incident coming in around 7:10 am PST, on the 900 block of North Thorson Avenue, as reported by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Right before 9:00 am PST, several officers were trying to enter the backyard to investigate while the aggressive dogs were fighting near the man’s mauled body, as reported by patch


KTLA footage showed a firefighter on top of a stone wall while looking into the yard of pit bulls, filled with kennels, with Cooper covered in blood while lying inside one of the kennels. The fire department helped a woman safely exit the yard, while animal control confiscated the Pit Bulls, which included five adult dogs and eight puppies, totaling 13 dogs in all. Investigators found a portion of the attack via surveillance footage.


“He was feeding the dogs at which point maybe there was an altercation between some of the dogs, which led to them ultimately attacking and mauling the victim,” according to Michael Gomez, who works for LASD’s Homicide Bureau.


While the man’s identity was not publicly released initially, his neighbors said lived alone. Cooper’s father agreed to sign over the dogs to Animal Care & Control for “impoundment and examination.”


“Preliminary information suggests that the individual was involved in breeding and selling Pitbulls,” animal control officials said in a statement. No other deaths or injuries were reported.


“Our deepest sympathies are extended to the family and friends of the victim,” DACC Director, Marcia Mayeda said. “We are committed to conducting a thorough investigation to determine the facts and ensure the safety, as well as the well-being of both the communities and animals involved.” On Tuesday, February 20, 2024, Cooper’s cause of death was listed as “deferred.”


Glenda Ford, Dominic Cooper’s friend from high school, informed FOX 11 that he was breeding the dogs to make money and was not malicious with the dogs in any way, shape or form and really did care for them.


“He stepped in between the dogs and that’s when he grabbed onto his thigh and clamped on an artery, while trying to fight another adult dog.” Ford informed FOX 11. “He tried to stop the bleeding, stumbled in the kennel and layed down. Because the dog bit an artery, he apparently bled out”. The dogs have since been euthenized and a gofundme page has since been posted to support his 3 daughters, during this tough time. Ford went on to talk about how their father was “loving, care so much about them and would want to walk them across the stage during graduation.


Palermo Law Group notes that many people regard pit bulls as “vicious”, “aggressive” and “powerful” dogs, and while attacks are not super prominent, when these attacks do happen, serious injury and death are not uncommon as the result of these attacks. While dogs are instinctively territorial, specifically when there’s an intruder in their owner’s house, unprovoked attacks are due to them feeling like their dominance is threatened. With their hierarchical pack mentalities, direct eye contact is a sign of a challenge, and they feel like they have something to prove. 


The earliest history of the Pit Bull can be traced back to the early 1800’s in the United Kingdom. Originally bred from the Old English Bulldogs, they gained popularity in an at-the-time popular sport, known as “bull baiting.” This was a leisure activity for the poor class back in the day and consisted of one to two Bulldogs harassing a bull for hours, until one collapsed from fatigue, injuries or even both. However, the British Parliament passed the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835, prohibiting the baiting of animals including the bull and bear. This led to “ratting”, which was a practice used to pit dogs against rats to see which one would kill the most rats in the shortest amount of time. The term “pit” in Pit Bull comes from ratting, since rats were placed in pits to prevent them from escaping. Both ratting and dogfighting required agility and speed, so owners bred Bulldogs with Terriers, leading to a new breed of dog, the “Pit Bull Terrier”.


While history thoroughly explains why Pit Bulls likely have an aggressive nature, what happened to Dominic Cooper still remains a sad tragedy, with him leaving a family behind. A lot of people are skeptical of Pit Bulls, due to this aggressive nature, but the breed is still kept as a pet in many American households, most not reporting attacks from their beloved dogs. It’s understandable why households with small kids aim for different breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Shih Tzus and even Huskies, as these breeds commonly get along with other dogs as well as people, and have a lower attack rate.


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