Fatal dog attacks are nothing new to Northeast Kansas

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Topeka Police confirmed the two pitbulls that killed 2-year-old Piper Dunbar have been euthanized.

Dogs involved in such incidents usually end up being put down, but their owner's don't always face consequences. That was the case in the most recent fatal dog attack in Northeast Kansas, prior to Piper.

2-year-old Savannah Mae Edwards was killed in 2012 after being attacked by a pitbull at her relative’s house in Topeka.

“Generally speaking, when you’re talking about dogs and what they do, the people who are going to be liable are the owners of the dog,” explained Washburn Law professor Jeffrey Jackson.

The dog was euthanized at the owner’s request, but the District Attorney’s office did not file charges against the home owner.

That wasn't the case for a similar tragedy in Geary County 15 years earlier.

11-year-old Christopher Wilson was killed after being attacked by three rottwielers while he and his little brother were waiting for the school bus in Junction City.

The dogs' owner, Sabine Davidson, was convicted of involuntary second-degree murder. Her husband pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

“Is there evidence that would show that the owner knew or should have known that the dog has vicious tendencies? The easiest way to show that is if the dog has bitten someone before,” explained Jackson.

While the rottwielers did not fall under the “one bite” criteria, court testimony indicated Davidson had been training the rottwielers to serve as protection dogs.

“She raised the dogs to be attack dogs and did not in fact give them proper training,” said Jackson.

As far as the possibility of Piper Dunbar's father or the owner of the dogs who was staying with him being charged -- Jackson says there are too many missing facts to tell.

“Was he negligent in inviting her to stay? What did he know about the dogs? There's just a host of things that make it hard to predict,” said Jackson.

It's not just children who have fallen victim to fatal dog attacks in Northeast Kansas.

71-year-old Jimmie McConnell of Kansas City was killed by her neighbor's pitbull while she was gardening in 2006.

The dog’s owner was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to four years in prison.