2024 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Three Pit Bulls with History of Aggression in Portsmouth, Virginia - DogsBite Blog (2024)

A woman was killed by three pit bulls with a history of aggression in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Pit Bulls Kill Woman
Portsmouth, VA - A woman is dead after being mauled by three pit bulls in the middle of the night, police said. Portsmouth police responded to a residence in the 1800 block of Atlanta Avenue just after 1:30 am Friday. Arriving officers found the woman with life-threatening injuries. She was transported to a hospital, where she died. All three pit bulls were taken into custody, Portsmouth Police Chief Stephen Jenkins said. The investigation is ongoing, but no other details are available at this time, Jenkins said.

“It is still early in the investigation. Obviously animal control and my detectives are looking into the facts and circ*mstances surrounding it." - Portsmouth Police Chief Stephen Jenkins

WAVY reporter Brian Reese, spoke to neighbor Lawrence Davis, who confirmed the attack occurred at 1815 Atlanta Avenue. Davis said the woman was visiting the home at the time. The dog owner is a man, but Davis did not know his name. WVEC-TV spoke to neighbors who said the dogs have been involved in at least three prior acts of aggression recently, including biting a man and aggressively chasing children on bicycles. Police have not identified the owner of the dogs or the mauling victim.

Chief Jenkins later confirmed the previous attacks to WVEC-TV and suggested the victim had been trespassing. "It has come to light that Portsmouth Animal Patrol officers had indeed responded on three prior occasions over the last 12 months with one being for a bite injury," Jenkins said. The dogs were secure when the attack occurred, he said. "We urge residents to refrain from trespassing or attempting to interact with animals without explicit permission from their owners," Jenkins said.

Mauling Victim Identified

Neighbors and an eyewitness identified the victim as Cindy White, who is known by people who live in the home. According to the eyewitness, White walked into the home and moved the "bar and speaker" that were positioned to "barricade" the dogs in the back room. Then White went into the back room, where she was viciously attacked by the dogs. A woman who lives a block over could hear White's screams, WAVY reports. Apparently, White had been trying to visit a man who lives in the back room.

After hearing White's screams, some associates of hers came over to the house, neighbors said, and attacked the man who was sleeping in the back room. “Some people jumped on the person who lives in the house,” Davis explained. “They blame him, and they beat him up ... He was taken to the hospital ... and I don’t know the status.” WAVY shot drone video from above the house and captured images inside the home too. A person who lives in the home, shot pictures from a reporter's cell phone.

White had multiple Facebook pages. Friends and family members tagged her most recent one after learning about her death. One of her older Facebook pages appears to show her in the backyard of the home at 1815 Atlanta Avenue. On April 13, White's sister, Tamika, hosted a balloon release for White using white and gold balloon colors. White turned 50-years old on October 28, 2022, making her 51-years old at the time of her death. Portsmouth police did not release White's age or her name.

Covid Fatality in Portsmouth

Back in March of 2020, just as the Covid crisis erupted, Demi Witherspoon, 2-years old, was killed by a family pit bull in Portsmouth. That attack occurred in the 5600 block of Darby Close, about 15 miles to the northwest of this location. At that time, we reported that the dispatcher for Portsmouth Police and Fire stated in the audio log files on Broadcastify.com: "We have a pit bull who just bit the complainant's daughter's face completely off." There were no relevant audio dispatch log files for the recent attack.

2024 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Three Pit Bulls with History of Aggression in Portsmouth, Virginia - DogsBite Blog (1)

Home on Atlanta Avenue where three pit bulls with a history of aggression killed Cindy White.

2024 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Three Pit Bulls with History of Aggression in Portsmouth, Virginia - DogsBite Blog (2)

WAVY footage shows the "barricaded" entrance to the back room with a "bar and speaker."

2024 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Three Pit Bulls with History of Aggression in Portsmouth, Virginia - DogsBite Blog (3)View the DogsBite.org Google Map: Virginia Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

Related articles:
11/10/22: 2022 Dog Bite Fatality: Church Leader Dies After Being Mauled by Pit Bull in Richmond
01/20/22: 2022 Dog Bite Fatality: Rottweiler Kills 7-Year Old Girl, Injures Adult Female in Waynesboro

Baseline reporting requirements:
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.

2024 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Three Pit Bulls with History of Aggression in Portsmouth, Virginia - DogsBite Blog (2024)


What dog breed kills the most humans? ›

66% of Fatal Dog Bite Deaths Caused by Pit Bulls

From their data collection, they found 346 of 521 deaths were from pit bull attacks. Rottweilers made up 10%, followed by German Shepherds, mixed-breed, American Bulldog, Mastiffs, and Huskies.

What is the Virginia one bite rule? ›

Strict Liability Under Virginia's "One-Bite" Rule

Some courts have ruled that a dog has to injure, bite or attack someone before the owner becomes strictly liable for subsequent incidents. (Crocker-Sanford v. Landrum, 40 Va. Cir.

What state has the most dog attacks? ›

Where Do Fatal Dog Bites Occur the Most? Fatal dog attacks happen much more often in Texas and California than in any other state.

Why are most fatal dog attacks pitbulls? ›

Pit bulls may present a greater danger than other breeds for many reasons, such as because they have been bred to be more aggressive, are less likely to back down during fights and are less likely to give a warning before a bite.

What dog breed causes the most attacks? ›

Pit Bull. No dog breed has a more ferocious reputation than the pit bull, being recognized as the most aggressive dog breed. According to Canine Journal (an organization that collects and analyzes dog bite attacks in the United States), Pit bull attacks are responsible for the deaths of 185 people in the last ten years ...

What is the last bite rule? ›

There's nothing complicated about today's weight-loss strategy: Leave one bite behind. Whether you're sitting down for dinner or grabbing a snack on the road, leave just one bite of each item you choose. That last forkful of pasta, chunk of steak or handful of Doritos can stay right where it is.

Are pitbulls illegal in Virginia? ›

A law was signed in Virginia that set forth a statewide dangerous dog law and specifically prohibited regulation based on breed. No Virginia municipality may have a breed-discriminatory ordinance. However, private entities, such as landlords and insurance companies, may still continue to discriminate.

Can you press charges if a dog attacks your dog in Virginia? ›

Dog owners are legally responsible when their dog attacks a person or another animal. In Virginia, irresponsible pet owners can face criminal charges and be held financially liable for damages caused by a violent dog.

What state has the most pitbull attacks? ›

Top states
  • Texas.
  • California.
  • Georgia.
  • Florida.
  • Illinois.
  • Michigan.
  • South Carolina.
  • North Carolina.

What city has the most dog attacks? ›

10 Worst Cities for Dog Bites
  • Houston, 57.
  • Los Angeles, 48.
  • Dallas, 44.
  • Cleveland, 43.
  • San Diego, 39.
  • Chicago, 36.
  • St. Louis, 34.
  • Kansas City, Missouri, 33.
Jun 6, 2023

What dog is most likely to bite a child? ›

Researchers found pit bulls and mixed breed dogs have the highest risk of biting and cause the most damage per bite. The same goes for dogs with wide and short heads weighing between 66 and 100 pounds.

Why do pit bulls maul their owners? ›

These attacks are often the result of some of the qualities that make pit bulls desirable for people who want protective guard dogs. Their protective nature can lead to territorial behavior, and their general musculature and power can make instances of attacks more dangerous.

Why do pit bulls not let go? ›

This ability to hold on was bred into them, both purposefully by breeders and unintentionally, as the dogs that held on would survive longer. Pit bulls are also noted for being very stubborn and strong; this, combined with their breed purpose, makes it difficult to shake a pit bull off.

Why do dogs maul their owners? ›

There are multiple reasons that a dog may exhibit aggression toward family members. The most common causes include conflict aggression, fear-based, defensive aggression, status related aggression, possessive aggression, food guarding aggression and redirected aggression.

Is a XL bully a pitbull? ›

The XL Bully was developed through the crossing of various bull breeds, including the American Pit Bull Terrier. The breed is typically larger both in height and body body as it is more muscular than other bully breeds.

What dog has the strongest bite force? ›

The Kangal has a mighty bite, with a bite force of 743 PSI. It is the highest bite force of any dog breed. The Kangal's bite is so strong that it quickly kills a predator. They are considered the most savage dog breeds with the strongest mouth bite globally and are banned in some countries, such as the United Kingdom.


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