In August, 31-year-old British man Dan Brandon was found lifeless in his apartment next to his gigantic Burmese python. Brandon had many pet snakes in his home, but apparently this python escaped its cage. The coroner determined that he died from asphyxiation.
Small children and massive reptiles are not a good mix. In 2011, Jane Hare and her boyfriend Charles Darnell of Florida were sentenced to 12 years in prison for third-degree murder and child neglect. Two years earlier, Hare’s two-year-old daughter Shaianna was strangled by the couple’s pet albino Burmese python. The snake was severely underweight at 13-pounds, when a snake of its size should weigh around 150 pounds. The snake escaped it’s enclosure and attacked the girl in her crib.
In 2010, a 67-year-old East Texas man named Gerald Rushton was killed by a 550-pound European red stag he was keeping on his property. Rushton cared for many other wild animals at his home. Rushton entered the deer’s pen to feed it when the animal became aggressive and pinned Rushton to the fence with its massive antlers.
In 2009, a 37-year-old Pennsylvania woman named Kelly Ann Walz was killed as she attempted to clean her pet back bear’s cage. Her husband had a license to house exotic wildlife, which also included a tiger, lion and jaguar, but the license had expired a year earlier. Walz’s children witnessed the horrific attack and a neighbor shot and killed the bear as it was mauling her.
Hippos are among the most aggressive and dangerous animals that inhabit the African continent. In 2011, Marius Els, a 40-year-old farmer in South Africa was killed by his pet hippo Humphrey. Els had previously said that Humphrey was like a “son to me.”
Yes, you read that title right. In 2007, a 60-year-old woman named Pam Weaver was killed by her horny pet camel. She passed away after the camel pinned her down to the ground and tried to straddle her.
Back in 2004, an Illinois man named Al Abell was killed by his pet lion Simba as he attempted to clean the animal’s cage. It was the first time he ever cleaned the lion’s cage on his own. Abell and his wife had raised Simba since he was a cub, but the animal turned on Abell when he entered the cage. The local authorities killed the lion on the property.
Half-wild animals proved to be 100 percent dangerous in this tragic story. In 2006, a 50-year-old Pennsylvania woman named Sandra Piovesan was mauled to death by her nine wolf-dogs. Wolf-dogs are hybrid species of half-wolves and half-dogs. All nine of the wolf-dogs were put down after the incident.
We hear of Spanish matadors being gored by bulls in the ring all the time. But this incident happened much closer to home. In 2010, a 52-year-old Pennsylvania man named Ricky Weinhold was killed by his pet one-ton bull. The animal reportedly had caused trouble before when it broke some of Weinhold’s ribs the year before.
It’s not 100 percent proven that 69-year-old Oregon farmer Terry Vance Garner was deliberately killed by his pigs. It is proven that he was eaten by them, though. All that was left of the farmer was his dentures and an undisclosed body part. Investigators do believe that the pigs knocked Garner over and killed him before devouring his body.
Not all the deaths on this list were caused by exotic animals. Sometimes man’s best friend can turn into man’s worst nightmare. In early September, Mario Perivoitos of England was being interviewed by a BBC film crew for a documentary named Drugs Map Britain. While the cameras were off, Perivoitos Staffordshire bull terrier, Major, had attacked Perivoitos. Perivoitos had gone into a drug-induced epileptic seizure which provoked Major into attacking his face and throat. Major also tested positive for cocaine, which he probably ingested in Perivoitos’ apartment.
You wouldn’t think that many people would willingly keep a black widow spider as a pet, but one German man did just that. In 2004, police responded to a complaint about a strange smell coming from Mark Voegal’s apartment. When police arrived at the scene they found Voegal’s body covered in spider webs and spiders were crawling in and out of his orifices. The corner determined the cause of death was a spider bite from his pet black widow spider, Bettina. Voegal had a host of other strange pets like termites and reptiles, all of which were out of their enclosures and found snacking on his corpse.
Keeping an extremely poisonous pit viper as a pet is probably not the brightest idea. Unfortunately, this poor judgment call cost a 44-year-old Ohio woman named Alexandria Hall her life. In 2004, Hall was bit by her urutu pit viper and she was actually able to drive herself to the hospital. Sadly, she died a week later.
In 2010, 66-year-old Norman Buwalda was killed by a 650-pund Siberian tiger he kept on his property in Ontario. Buwalda’s neighbors had previously petitioned to get the tigers on the property removed as one of Buwalda’s tigers had attacked a boy five years before this incident.
In 2010, 52-year-old Saso Baricevic of Slovenia was killed by his three large bullmastiffs. The incident was ironic because Baricevic had saved the three dogs from being euthanized after they attacked a man in 2006. What ensued was a lengthy court battle that received national attention. Ultimately, the dogs were returned to Baricevic, but they ended up killing him in the end.