Dog behavior expert reveals how 'trigger stacking' could have caused pet pit bull Simba to attack his owner and kill her
Tania and Simba appeared to have a close bond but Simba soon became very protective of her. The dog was unable to cope with stress which led to a lot of unpredictable behavior.
In October 2017, Tania Klemke died as a result of a sudden attack from her pet pit bull Simba at her home in Watson in the northern suburbs of Canberra. This breed of dogs has earned quite a reputation of being violent and known to attack people but dog behaviorists beg to differ as they investigate the real reasons behind why some pets behave in this deadly manner.
According to a Florida based dog behavior expert, Jim Crosby, the dog most likely snapped after 'trigger stacking'. As reported by DailyMail, he shared, "In dogs, there's something called trigger stacking. A dog may have a moderate or low-level response to any one particular thing, but if you build up the stress of multiple things that can result in a dog reacting quite strongly, even if none of the individual triggers would do it."
Tania died when Simba lost control and neighbors heard her screams for help and called the police who then shot the dog dead. The dog turned on the cops the moment they attempted to give any medical aid to Tania which is when the authorities took the fatal shot.
As reported by the Canberra Times, the pit bull became a part of the house when it was just a puppy in 2013 but grew very fast and developed a very strong physical presence. The dog started to become a bit of a nuisance to the neighbors as he would break into their backyards.
Tania and Simba appeared to have a close bond but Simba soon became very protective of his owner. He then started to develop an inability to cope with stress which led to a lot of unpredictable behavior. It is not known what exactly pushed the dog to attack his owner or whether Simba experienced any sort of violent incidents/ altercations over the months leading to the attack.
In 2017, Tania's house was broken into by two men who were carrying weapons and also wearing balaclavas. According to reports from the police, her son was thrown out from a window while Simba's ear was cut off with a machete. Around 5 months post the incident, Tania's former boyfriend came home uninvited and the pair had a huge argument which affected Simba.
Simba caught on to the man's leg and neighbors rushed to the scene to find Simba attacking the man. One of the neighbors used a baseball bat to hit the dog in the head and use meat to distract him. Tania had to warn people not to come over to her house as she feared they too could be attacked. When Tania welcomed a male friend into the home on October 25, 2017, Simba mauled her to death while the man had to hide in the laundry. It is reported that Simba chewed and also clawed at the door to try and get to the man.
Crosby added, "The fact that he tried to eat his way through that laundry room door to get at the stranger indicates to me the dog had a lot of defensive focus. If a dog is so focused on doing something, like defending its owner, in some dogs that frustration can become so great it has to release that frustration on something or someone, and sometimes that happens to be the closest person."