With her arms full of grocery bags, 33-year old Diane Whipple had just returned to her upscale apartment in San Francisco on Jan. 26 2001. As she opened the door, a neighbor’s dog—a 112-lb. female Presa Canario named Hera—rushed down the narrow hall and began barking at her, followed by 123-lb. Bane, who was on a leash but pulling his owner, Marjorie Knoller, behind him. Diane was knocked to the floor and Bane attacked her.
The mauling death of Diane Whipple was viscous and brutal. She suffered over 70 dog bites. The final bite tore open her neck, leading to fatal blood loss. A neighbor called 911 when she heard the horrible attack.
Bane and Hera’s owners would later deny any knowledge of their dogs’ propensity for violence. But nearly 30 people would come forward with stories of being lunged at or bitten by one or both of the dogs. And then secrets emerged that painted an unfavorable picture of the owners.
There is so much to talk about with this case. Responsible pet ownership. Dog breeding. Animal abuse. Adoption laws. The definition of second-degree murder. This is just a crock pot full of fascinating topics. In Unleashed: A Dog Mauling in San Francisco, we will definitely ruffle some feathers, but hopefully the discussion will serve as an opportunity to take a closer look at our values and open the door to some fascinating listener feedback.