Taz, the fatally attacking pit bull, seen in quarantine (WESH Orlando video).
Pit Bull Scalps Victim
Deltona, FL - A pit bull that often shared a bed with its owners viciously attacked and killed a 63-year-old woman that had been visiting the family. It almost tore off the thumb of one of its owners as she tried to get the dog off her sister. It wasn't until a deputy sheriff shot the dog with a stun gun that it released its grip on the victim.
In this time, the dog had pulled off the woman's entire scalp and bitten her severely about the face. Mary Bernal of Dallas, Texas, died at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, where she was airlifted after the attack in the backyard of her sister's home on Roble Lane. Her husband Rudy Bernal, was in a state of horrified shock.
"[The pit bull] was dragging her, and all her scalp was hanging by her side. He wouldn't turn her loose. He would let her go. I saw police shoot the dog with a stun gun. That's the only way they could cut him loose." - Rudy Bernal
The attack began when Mary went into the backyard and picked up the couple's pet dachshund. Estela Macias, who tried to get the dog away from her sister, was sent to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford for her injuries. "My sister-in-law is dead," she later told reporters as he wiped away tears. "I don't know what happened."
Eliasar Macias, the husband of Estela and the dog's owner, said he was stunned that his sister-in-law was killed and his wife was injured by the dog. He said that his dog never had any problems and that "he was a real friendly dog until now." He also said that the dog often slept with the two. The dog had been in bed with his wife that morning.
Witnesses said Mary Bernal, 63, was visiting her sister, Estela Macias, 52, when she bent down to pick up another dog in the backyard. That was when the pit bull attacked. One of deputies used a taser on the dog to get it to stop attacking.
Bernal was flown by a sheriff's office helicopter to Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach with a critical head wound. She later died at the hospital.
Ealiasar Macias, the owner of the dog and husband of the victim's sister, said he had never seen their male pit bull snap before.
Estela Macias was taken to Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City by ambulance. She was bitten on the hand and arm. Macias also reported having chest pain. - Central Florida News 13, June 29, 2007
Animal Control found 3 adult dogs and 6 puppies in the house, including a pregnant pit bull. "Beware of Dog" signs hung on both sides of the house, but neighbors said neither Tas, the killer pit bull, nor the family's other pit bull was ever a problem. Animal Control took Tas and planned to destroy it after Marcias agreed to surrender the animal.
11/09/09: Collection of Pit Bull Scalp Attack Victims - DogsBite.org
07/14/08: Comment: The Anatomy of a Whitewash, James Crosby
11/15/07: 2007 Fatality: No Charges Filed for Owner of 2 Pit Bulls that Killed Jennifer Lowe
10/02/07: 2007 Fatality: Tina Marie Canterbury Killed by Her Two Red Nosed Pit Bulls