Karen Gillespie, 53-years old, was brutally mauled to death by a white boxer-mix.
UPDATE 06/12/10: Last November, Karen Gillespie was mauled to death on a property adjacent to Howard Miller. It was reported Friday that Kentucky State Police filed misdemeanor charges against Miller for violating the county's vicious dog ordinance. The complaint comes shortly after a grand jury declined to indict Miller on a more severe felony charge. Gillespie's family was devastated by the news. They had hoped for a felony indictment by the grand jury.
Instead, as in many other cases of serious and fatal dog attacks, the victim's family was flung under a rug, despite the fact that Miller's dogs were loose -- roaming off property at the time of the attack -- and had previously attacked at least two other human beings before killing Karen. Her husband Stephen Gillespie believes the judicial system failed his wife and family, echoing the horrible injustice that victims of violent and deadly dog attacks often experience.
"Punish the Deed" is a fictitious statement often voiced by pro-pit bull advocates and in this case, its empty meaning backed up by the Commonwealth's Attorney, whose job is to protect the public, and the grand jurors. Recently, jurors in the case involving two pit bull owners whose three dogs nearly killed two people -- Duane VanLanHam and Bridgetta Bradly -- spent four days deliberating if one of the dogs, which was an offspring, belonged to the pit bull owner (?)1
It must be noted in the Gillespie case that not only did the judicial system fail the family, Hardin County Animal Control failed them too. Despite no witnesses to the attack that ended Karen's life, officials seized just one of Miller's dogs after the incident (this is very unusual). It was later determined that more than one of Miller's dogs was involved in the attack. Only then did officials impound the other dog, the third dog having allegedly already disappeared.2
After the discovery of Karen's body, Hardin County Animal Control Supervisor Jerry Foley referred to the incident as a "freak accident," a term commonly used by pit bull owners. Foley also said last year that his office was "unable to find any evidence" of the previous bite incidents involving Miller's dogs. Lastly he stated, "We try to be as proactive as we can be," which seems to contradict the actions (or lack thereof) his office took before and after the death of Karen.
12/03/09: Officials Expand Investigation
The investigation into the death of Karen Gillespie continues. Hardin County Attorney Steve Bland said the case could be referred to a grand jury upon completion. Bland said he has met with Kentucky State Police Detective Larry Walker and KSP has chosen to expand the investigation rather than rush its completion. Persons with information about previous incidents involving Miller's dogs are urged to contact the Elizabethtown police office.
If presented to a grand jury, Bland said, it could consider a misdemeanor charge against the dog's owners for harboring a vicious animal, where penalties range from a fine up to $500 and up to one year in jail. Bland said the grand jury also could consider felony charges, but he declined to comment further. Also noted in the article is that Hardin County Animal Control supervisor Jerry Foley identified the offending dog as a "boxer-mix" not an American bulldog.
11/27/09: Seized Dog Had History of Bites
Fox 41 News reports that the dog's owner, Howard Miller, said that "their American bulldog is a stray they were feeding and he was not fenced in." The News Enterprise, which serves Hardin County, Kentucky, reports that the dog had a history of bites, including previously biting a U.S. Census worker at the home and biting a firefighter involved in the search for Gillespie, and blood -- believed to be Gillespie’s -- was transferred to the firefighter during the incident.
According to the county coroner, the majority of Gillespie’s injuries were head-related and she died shortly after the attack. The coroner's investigation also revealed Gillespie died between 4:15 and 5 pm Tuesday evening -- more than 12 hours before her body was located. Detective Walker said Gillespie’s death probably could have been prevented, but there was no criminal intent by the dog’s owners. Harboring vicious animals is a misdemeanor under Kentucky law.
11/26/09: Victim Died Due to Dog Bite Injury
Following the autopsy done on Karen Gillespie, deputy coroner John Clemens said, "The cause of death was head injuries from a dog attack." Hardin County Animal Control removed the dog believed responsible for the attack from an adjacent property on Web Mill Road. The dog was photographed, and appears to be a boxer or an American bulldog, but officials have yet to identify its breed. DogsBite.org prays for the Gillespie family on a day that celebrates the joy of family.
11/26/09: Retired Librarian Killed by Dog
White Mills, KY - In a developing story, Kentucky State Police say the body of a woman was found near her home and she had sustained "dog-related wounds." Deputy Hardin County Coroner John Clemens says it is too soon to discuss the cause of death of 53-year old Karen Gillespie, a retired librarian3 with the Grayson County Public Library. Hardin County Animal Control removed a dog (pictured) from the property of Howard Miller, adjacent to where Gillespie was found.
KSP Detective Larry Walker said Gillespie suffered no additional wounds, and he did not know if an underlying medical condition could have played a role in her death. Gillespie’s husband, Stephen, said he was unaware of any medical problems. He said his wife left her home that day to photograph an old one-room school house in the area. Interested in genealogy, he said she had been researching some family history and photographed older structures as a hobby.
When darkness fell and she had not returned home, Stephen Gillespie knew something was wrong. He reported his wife's disappearance around 7 pm Tuesday, and search crews worked through the night trying to find her. Gillespie's home eventually became a command center for the search and rescue teams. It was there that first responders were alerted of Gillespie’s location around 9:30 am Wednesday. An autopsy is scheduled for Thanksgiving Day.
2Information provided to DogsBite.org by an anonymous source.
3Back in August, retired librarian Sherry Schweder and her husband, Lothar Schweder, were mauled to death by a pack of "mongrel" dogs in Oglethorpe County, Georgia.
08/18/09: 2009 Fatality: Senior Couple Killed by Pack of Dogs in Oglethorpe County
07/26/09: History Channel Airs Segment of Double Fatal Attack; Images of Dogs Shown
"Clemens had few details at the scene, though he did confirm some “animal activity” occurred. The suspected dog belonged to the owners of an adjacent property where Gillespie was found. The dog’s owner, Howard Miller, had placed a sign on his premises warning visitors of the presence of dogs. But Clemens said it is unclear if the wounds were the cause of the death."
A comment left:
White Mills Woman Found Dead
"The photo accompanying this article shows a white dog that appears to be a pit bull breed, although no mention of that is made in the text. The sign in question is faded, laying down near the driveway, and could only be seen by the passenger in a car driving up the driveway. These dogs (three) have been known to run out to the road barking aggressively at any passerby. They do not stay on the property, which is not completely fenced in either. The sign says "The dogs will bite. Honk horn for help." This is a case where the home owner thinks having aggressive untrained unsecured dogs will protect his property from trespassers and an unseen unknown unproven danger of a burglary or robbery. Is that worth a precious human life? They are either not home all the time or completely unaware or uncaring of their dogs' activities."
God knows, probably a dog fighting breeding operation in plain sight.
Problems. Animal control and authorities DO NOTHING.
Now a corpse.
We are living in a war zone. Pit bulls ARE KILLING US. We have no freedom.
Did you see the comment by the AKC breeder type?
"love people who sterotype and blame the animal and not the human who is usually responsible"
These dog breeders are sociopaths.
By posting that sign, this homeowner has acknowledged FULL liability for his dogs' actions.
This happens frequently. People think these warning signs exclude them from liability. Instead they PROVE liability.
Depraved Indifference Law & Legal Definition
To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant's conduct must be 'so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant’s conduct, not the injuries actually resulting.
In one case, People v Register, 60 NY2d 273, 469 NYS2d 599 (1983),while exploring the meaning of "depraved indifference recklessness" the Court of Appeals ruled that intoxication is not a defense or excuse to "depraved mind murder," although it may be to intentional murder. Its analysis started with distinguishing reckless manslaughter from the "depraved indifference recklessness" necessary for murder:
"to bring defendant’s conduct within the murder statute, the People were required to establish also that defendant’s act was imminently dangerous and presented a very high risk of death to others and that it was committed under circumstances which evidenced a wanton indifference to human life or a depravity of mind. . . . . The crime differs from intentional murder in that it results not from a specific, conscious intent to cause death, but from an indifference to or disregard of the risks attending defendant’s conduct." 60 NY2d at 274.
Apparently, the "Honk for Help" sign was due to a previous attack on a US Census worker which the local A/C knew about…
Apparently, this animal is an Ambull…the reconstituted bullbaiters that pit bulls were developed from…They should have remained extinct!
No criminal intent?!? What is it going to take to get some sense in these laws?
And, really, this just underscores the need to ban ALL fighting breeds, not just pit bulls. Dog fighting is outlawed, fighting dogs should be outlawed, period.
Comment taken from a discussion about which is better, an alarm or a dog:
"When I get a place, I really want to live outside city limits. And I'd like a couple of the man stopper breeds maybe a rottie and a bullmastiff outdoors. And a couple of pit bulls inside. The kind of house where people have to pull up and honk if they want to get out of their car! LOL"
This woman died of GRUESOME head injuries in an off-property dog attack (a dog that had previously bitten) and Kentucky is going to do NOTHING ABOUT IT.
How GROSS is that?
How GROSS is that?
How GROSS is that?
"Dog breeds for $500 Alex"…
"This previously extinct breed was named the American Pit Bull Dog until the 1970's"…
"What is the American Bull Dog?"
I also received a bite from one of Howard Millers dogs late last spring while me and my wife were down by the river checking water conditions for the following weekends kayak trip.We were on our way to another site when i saw Mr Miller mowing grass along side Web Mill rd, i stopped to ask Miller about some property along the river bank, before stopping i noticed he had three dogs following him around as he mowed, i stepped out of my SUV and approached miller as he got off the riding mower.I didn't have any fear of the dogs what so ever as i was talking to Miller and didn't pay them much mind, i noticed that two of the dogs including the white bull dog were just kind of sniffing around, but a third mixed colored dog sort of walked off to my right and behind me, with in seconds i felt his fangs in the rear of my upper thigh, in an instant reaction i turned to kick the dog off but he had moved just out of range of my boot as i kicked at him.I have a CDW but my gun was in the SUV at the time, if it was on me the dog would have been laid to rest on the spot, of coarse i probably would have went to jail for protecting my own life!.My left leg was stinging and burning with severe pain so i realized that he must have gotten me pretty good, i said to Miller your dog just bit me and his remark was quote"Oh he just likes to nip at people sometimes", and i said to him, i think that was a little more than a nip.We had other stops to make on the river that day so we went on, After arriving home some hours later my leg was still in pain so i dropped my pants to find one puncture wound and four black and blue marks where the dogs teeth clamped down on me.I've known Karen Gillespie and her family for close to thirty years, she was a great person and we will never forget this tragedy.Yesterday i went to the spot where her body was found only yards from Millers home.Their were no posted warning signs of any kind that i could see and the fence if you could call it that was only a
barbed wire fence that had only one strand at the top of the post about eye level.
"In my opinion"
Did miller do what was necessary to warn others of vicious dogs on his property: No
Did miller do what was necessary to keep the dogs on his property: No
Does Miller have any concern for his neighbors or his dogs actions: No
Is the white bull dog the only vicious dog Miller has on his property: No
Could Gillespie’s death been prevented: Yes
Can this type of incident happen again on the Miller property: Yes
Should harboring vicious animals be only a misdemeanor: You decide
"but a third mixed colored dog sort of walked off to my right and behind me, with in seconds i felt his fangs in the rear of my upper thigh"
This dog BIT YOU — it did NOT KILL YOU. Dogs that KILL adult human beings are typically amongst a tiny handful of breeds with pit bulls wearing the prized "Grand Champion" belt. One cannot ignore the "breed" conversation when talking about an adult human fatality. Second to this, the State of Kentucky appears to not have a felony negligence criminal law nor do many other states! Kentucky does however provide civil recourse.
How is this dog owner not involved in court and legal activity from the census worker bite?
Who is protecting him?
I hate American bulldogs. One of them was involved in a vicious mult-dog attack on me last year. The other was a pit bull. Ambulls are just pits on steroids. I think the breed should be outlawed. The only people I've ever met who own them are low lifes and criminals.
Brummit please contact the police with your story.
I agree, Brummit. Or the prosecutor.
I think anyone who has been bitten by a dog should report it to the police, no matter how small a bite it is….
Clear case of Manslaughter here…Hopefully, the prosecutor has the gonads to pursue it.
[QUOTE=by Anonymous Anonymous 11/30/2009 5:00 AM
Brummitt please contact the police with your story.
[QUOTE=by Blogger gary_laura_g 11/30/2009 8:21 PM
I agree, Brummitt. Or the prosecutor.
[QUOTE=by Anonymous Anonymous 12/02/2009 5:08 AM
I think anyone who has been bitten by a dog should report it to the police, no matter how small a bite it is….
The incident was reported to Larry Walker at the Kentucky State Police Headquarters in Elizabethtown on Monday 11/30/09.Mr Walker said their is another attack that accrued in September and he would every much like to here from that person, if anyone knows who this person is please contact the Kentucky State Police Headquarters in Elizabethtown.If this is confirmed that will be five people that have been attacked by Millers dogs this year…. this is incredible to say the least.
A celebration of life was held for Karen at the Manakee funeral home in E-Town Tuesday evening after she was cremated earlier, from what i understand she was very badly mutilated by the attack.We all said good bye to Karen in our on way and hope she finds peace.
So clearly what seems to have happened is that Miller and his pit bulls have been ENABLED and tolerated by local authorities.
Then someone dies as a result of their negligence, and suddenly state authorities are looking into the dirt.
As far as animal control goes, there clearly is a problem when an animal control officer is attempting to deceive with the usual "boxer mix" ploy instead of being honest about what this dog is- a pit bull or equivalent thereof. A FIGHTING DOG.
This death could have been prevented if local authorities were doing their jobs.
Remember that when this first happened, the local detective tried to brush this under the rug and immediately declared it an accident and said Miller wasn't to blame! Despite the fact that the dog had already attacked someone else and there was a history of problems with Miller!
This whole local situation stinks, and sounds like the southern good ole boy network that has been protecting its own.
Kentucky has a lot of dog fighters and I wonder what the situation is in this county.
Husband speaks out about wife's dog mauling death:
You can view where Karen Gillespie's body was found from the photos i took here.http://www.fox41.com/global/story.asp?s=11578951
Not sure about Hardin County Kentucky but in my city and in my state it is a crime to NOT report a dog bite.
YOU SHOULD REPORT THE FIREFIGHTER!
It turns out that the firefighter whom i spoke to at the funeral home 12/2/2009 said that he was bitten twice, once on the arm and on the leg, but as fate would have it, it turns out that he is a good friend of the Millers and said he want press charges, and that, [/QUOTE]they were just good people that made some bad decisions.However i spoke to Steve yesterday and he knows that when and if he needs me I'll do my part… This kind of tragedy needs to be stopped and not allowed to happen again!.
November 27, 2009
Hardin County Dog Attack Kills Woman
We have learned about another victim of a vicious dog attack in Kentucky. Karen Gillespie, a 53 year-old retired librarian was found mauled to death in a field near her home in White Mills, Kentucky on Wednesday. Hardin County Animal Control removed a dog from an adjacent property that is believed to be responsible for Ms. Gillespie's death.Vanessa Cantley, partner at Bahe Cook Cantley & Jones in Louisville, has represented dozens of victims of vicious dog attacks and is currently litigating a case to the Kentucky Supreme Court asking it to hold dog owners even more accountable for injuries caused by their animals. She states: "My heart goes out to Ms. Gillespie's husband and her other friends and loved ones. This is a terrible tragedy and could have been prevented. Kentucky's dog attack laws have been interpreted several
different ways over the last few years, but it is my position that the laws are written to hold dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs – i.e. if their dog causes injury or death to an individual, the owner is liable for the damages regardless of whether they knew the dog had vicious tendencies. I hope the Kentucky Supreme Court will agree with me and decide to interpret the laws as they were written by our legislature." If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog attack, or you would like to learn more about the legal rights of victims injured by dangerous dogs in Kentucky or Indiana, please contact Vanessa Cantley directly at (502) 587-2002.
When will people understand that protecting their "friends" who own dangerous dogs only means that some innocent operson will die!
Clearly there needs to be a lawsuit just to find out what part Animal Control, the DA, and the county played in this.
Previous bite incidents that "disappeared" from the record? That is a crime.
This is not just a tragedy. There is criminal activity going on in this county, and a health hazard for all.
A lawyer will be able to get to the bottom of this injustice, which is what the civil courts are for.
There is also a need to see if dog fighting interests are playing a role in this entire incident. We have had occurrences of county workers in Kentucky involved in these activities, and related to those in these activities.
All that's left to the family now are civil recourse, fighting to get the law changed, and seeing to it that if the person or people responsible for this not being tried as a felony are in an elected position that they lose that election next time. Want to get away with MURDER in the USA? Get a fighting breed and let it run loose.
the level in which the authorities bungled the investigation of this crime is unreal.
"the level in which the authorities bungled the investigation of this crime is unreal."
I don't think this is bungling.
i think this is intentional obfuscation, evidence tampering, and dereliction of duties. As well as shielding a criminal.
I think this is criminal behavior on the part of authority figures.
This needs to go to the state capital.
I believe the Gillespie family might very much agree with you ItsATragedy. Since day one this case has been "off." For instance, "Well, we don't know if she was killed by a dog," then, "Well we can't determine the breed of the dog," then "Well, the dogs had a history of biting and being vicious but we can't find those records now," then, "Well I can't comment what the grand jury might do, then "Well oops, we forgot to seize the immediate area dogs and the owner had time to make at least one disappear," then "Shucks, it seems we failed to present convincing evidence to the grand jury…"
Intentional obfuscation, evidence tampering, and dereliction of duties.
You nailed it!