After a two hour deliberation by a Panama City jury late last week, Edward Daniels was found guilty of manslaughter for not properly restraining his two mixed breed bulldogs who attacked and killed a seven-year-old child riding his bicycle home from school in the Kelly Court neighborhood on April 2.
According to the Newsherald.com, the two dogs named MJ and Fat Boy were known to be aggressive around the neighborhood and had escaped numerous times previous to the attack on the child, Tyler Jett. Daniels had been cited by Animal Control for the dogs running loose.
Heart wrenching testimony from neighbors described how young Tyler was dragged off of his bike by the two bulldogs shortly after the dogs had chased someone else. Witnesses stated the child had not provoked the dogs in any way and were able to finally get the child separated from the biting dogs.
Tyler was flown to the hospital and died five days later.
Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford told the court Daniels was guilty of culpable negligence because he knew his dogs were aggressive even though Daniels denied the allegations. According to Daniels, he had only seen his dogs being aggressive to another dog - never humans.
“You can’t stick your head in the sand like an ostrich and pretend the world isn’t there," Basford told the jury in his closing statements.
Daniels also testified the dogs were always digging their way out of the yard despite all of his attempts to keep them behind the fence. Each time the dogs would escape from a different part of the property.
Florida law requires dogs involved in serious injury or death of a human be euthanized within ten days if an appeal is not filed. Both dogs were euthanized.
Daniels will be sentenced on Oct. 14 and faces up to 15 years in prison for manslaughter.
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