Pets who have killed include a famous chimpanzee, various reptiles, a hippo that inspired a TV special, bears, and even spiders. A few of these cases resulted from people who were clearly hoarders and should never have been allowed to keep any pets, but many were just animal owners who had fallen in love with an exotic creature, and paid the ultimate price.
Here are terrifying stories of people killed by their own pets.
Scarface The Pitbull Mauls His Owner Over A Sweater
A Florida woman and her family were mauled by her pet pitbull after she tried to put a sweater on him.
The pitbull – ironically named Scarface – attacked Brenda Guerrero, 52, in her Tampa home on New Year’s Day in 2017. When her husband Ismael stepped in to help her, the dog turned on him. The couple’s 22-year-old son tried to intervene – this time with a knife – and even after he stabbed Scarface the dog still attacked.
The three eventually managed to escape into the house, leaving the dog outside. Animal Control officers were called to the home and had to subdue the dog with a Taser. Officials said the dog was “aggressive.” Sounds like an understatement.
Teddy The Black Bear Killed His Owner While She Cleaned His Cage
The Walz family of Allentown, PA, had raised their 350-pound black bear Teddy since it was a cub. But even so, the bear attacked and killed Kelly Ann Walz as she was cleaning his cage. She made the mistake of cleaning the cage while Teddy was still in it, which apparently set him off. Neighbor children saw the attack, and their father shot and killed Teddy.
Authorities soon discovered that Kelly’s husband’s license to keep and sell exotic animals had expired.
A Hoarder Was Bitten By His Pet Black Widow
A resident of Dortmund, Germany, Mark Voegel lived a solitary life in a small apartment, keeping the company only of the numerous insects and snakes he collected as pets. It was one of these, a black widow spider, that caused his demise. Apparently the heater on the tank he used to house his spiders had burst, allowing them to crawl free. A black widow bit Voegel and killed him, and in the two weeks it took for him to be found, his menagerie feasted on him.
Hundreds of spiders, lizards, and snakes – along with countless termites – had eaten him, with webs draping his body, and bits of him scattered all around the apartment.
A Pet Deer Gored Its Owner
Texas resident Gerald Rushton ill-advisedly kept a 500-pound red stag deer in a pen in his backyard. Despite the fact that deer are illegal to keep in Texas and extremely dangerous, Rushton was attempting to domesticate the animal and keep it as a pet. The attempt failed, as the deer gored and trampled Rushton to death.
Game wardens arrived on the scene and put the deer down, and Rushton was dead before making it to a hospital.
Gypsy The Burmese Python Strangled A Toddler To Death
In 2009, Jaren Hare and Charles Darnell owned a pet python named Gypsy that had already escaped close to a dozen times, as its cage was only covered by a quilt. But the Florida residents insisted on hanging onto it. That changed when the snake escaped again, and wrapped itself around Hare’s two-year-old daughter and killed her.
Animal experts believed the snake hadn’t been fed in a month and was severely underweight when it tried to eat the girl. Hare and Darnell were arrested, and while their attorney tried to argue that the snake had always been docile, a jury convicted them of third-degree murder. They were each sent to prison for 12 years.
A Camel In Heat Trampled Its Owner To Death
Australian Pam Weaver was given a camel for her 60th birthday, which isn’t so strange given that she owned a large property full of cattle and sheep roaming about, as well. Of course, cows and sheep aren’t camels. Shortly after starting its life as a pet, the camel repeatedly attempted to smother the family’s pet goat.
Then one evening, disaster struck, as the camel tried to mate with Weaver. After she fought the camel off, the animal knocked her over, stomped on her head, and lay on top of her, smothering her to death.
Simba The Pet Lion Mauled His Owner
Illinois resident Al Abell kept a brood of exotic animals in a small zoo he called Cougar Bluff Enterprise, including a 500-pound African lion called Simba. Abell was usually careful in the handling of his exotic pets, but one afternoon he made a fatal mistake – he forgot to lock the door to the secondary pen that he put the lion in when cleaning its cage.
The details surrounding Abell’s death are uncertain, but Abell’s wife returned to the property to find him missing, the lion roaming free, and the other animals on the farm agitated. What followed was a tense standoff between local police and the lion, which ended with Simba shot dead by assault rifles. Abell was found dead near the animal cage, having bled to death from a massive bite in his leg.