Pit bull murder rap a national first

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1993:

CLEVELAND, Ohio––After nine
hours of deliberation, a Cleveland jury on
November 23 convicted unemployed welder
Jeffrey Mann, 36, of murder for siccing a pit
bull terrier named Mack on his live-in girl-
friend, Angela Kaplan, 28, during a quarrel
on the night of September 2, 1992.
Following mandatory sentencing guidelines,
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
Judge Linda Rocker imprisoned Mann for 15
years to life.
It was the first-ever U.S. murder
conviction in which an animal figured as the
weapon. Mack bit Kaplan more than 70
times, almost exclusively on the undersides
of her arms. Afterward, she bled to death on
a living room sofa while Mann purportedly
slept in the family bedroom.

The fatal quarrel occurred as
Kaplan was attempting to regain custody of
her two daughters, now ages 10 and 6, from
their paternal grandparents, who had Kaplan
declared an unfit mother in the spring of
1992. Shortly after the murder, investigators
learned the girls’ father had sexually abused
the older girl and three of her friends while
they were in care of the grandparents. The
father has been convicted of the crimes;
charges of neglect are pending against the
grandparents for allegedly letting the abuse
happen; and the children are in foster care.
The prosecution and conviction
were obtained through the perseverance of
homicide detective Michaelene Taliano, who
spent months finding witnesses to the pattern
of abuse that marked the Mann/Kaplan rela-
tionship and consulting dog behavior experts.
“It’s been a very difficult case,” she told
Ulysses Torasso of the Cleveland Plain
Dealer. “I’ve taken a lot of abuse from my
colleagues. I’d get calls: ‘Woof woof.'”
The man who bred Mack testified at
the trial that he’d trained the dog’s mother to
kill live rabbits who were tied to a tree. Mack
was euthanized immediately after the trial.
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