January 26, 2001
San Francisco, California
Lacrosse player and former Olympic hopeful Diane Whipple is attacked at her home by 2 Perro de Presa Canario dogs being cared for by her neighbors
The dogs, Bane and Hera, had belonged to Paul Schneider who was serving a life sentence. Schneider and his cell mate were allegedly attempting to run an illegal Perro de Presa Canario ring while in prison. The dogs exchanged ownership after Schneider and the dogs’ caretaker had a falling out. Husband-and-wife lawyers Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel volunteered to watch the dogs instead.
On January 26, 2001, Diane Whipple was carrying groceries into her house when the dogs attacked. During trial, Knoller claimed she attempted to shield Whipple’s body with her own, but witnesses testified she failed on multiple occasions to control the dogs. Whipple sustained 77 wounds across her entire body except the soles of her feet and scalp. She died hours later at the hospital from blood loss.
During trial, several witnesses came forward with testimony against Knoller and Noel, stating the couple had had trouble with the dogs’ aggression in the past but had not taken steps to correct the issue. The couple both received guilty verdicts for the charges of involuntary manslaughter and owning a mischievous animal that caused the death of a human being; Knoller was also found guilty of second-degree murder. Both dogs were euthanized.