Dog Owner Sentenced in Dog Mauling Case

Diane Cockrell, 52, has pleaded no contest to three criminal counts related to the deaths of two neighbors (including a 91-year-old man) killed by her bulldogs. The sentencing in Michigan occurs as the most famous mauling case of Diane Whipple continues in California. These cases are often brought both criminally and civilly by victims or their survivors.

Cockrell will serve between 43 months and 15 years for the crimes.
She pleaded no contest to two felony counts of keeping dangerous animals causing death and a third lesser charge.

Edward Gierlach was the first of the victims to die. He was attacked by Cockrell’s dos in his driveway. They then attacked 56-year-old Cheryl Harper, who was walking nearby.
The prosecutors argued that Cockrell had an inadequate fence on her horse farm and kept vicious dogs. Her argument was a variation of the “one free bite rule”: that the dogs have not previously attacked or shown a violent disposition. The state euthanized her 10 dogs.

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