UPDATE 03/08/10: Lee County Coroner Alfred Elmore confirmed in a phone call today with DogsBite.org that Ethel Horton suffered severe injuries in the pit bull attack. There was no mistake in the tone of his voice. "Oh they were severe," he said. The death of Ethel Horton indeed qualifies as a U.S. fatal dog attack, despite animal experts such as Richard Polsky who declare otherwise:
Polsky's website: "For example, there was an incident in March 2010 incident in Lucknow, South Carolina involving a 65-year-old lady in which all news stories initially reported a fatality caused by a pit bull attack, but subsequently the autopsy indicated a fatal heart attack was the primary cause of death (presumably from the stress of the attack). Hence, this incident cannot be included in the database."
03/05/10: Severity Injuries Unclear
The Lee County Coroner reports that the victim died of a heart attack "before the dog did much damage to her." The question is the amount of damage -- were the injuries severe or not? As noted by our language, "Deaths involving non-dog bite injury, minor dog bite injury or cases that lacked a "reasonably clear" determination of death due to dog bite injury are not included in DogsBite.org statistical fatality data."
DogsBite.org will follow up with the Lee County coroner's office shortly.
03/04/10: Mauling Victim Identified
Authorities report that the victim, Ethel Horton, was killed by the pit bull while trying to beat the dog off her 71-year old husband, Jerry Horton, who was first attacked by the animal. The two had been taking care of the 10-year old pit bull, Brutus, for their nephew who lived next door. Apparently, while Jerry was feeding the other dogs in the yard, Brutus "snapped," broke its chain and violently attacked Jerry.
Jerry suffered severe injuries and was taken to a hospital in Hartsville.
03/04/10: Woman Killed by Pit Bull
Lee County, SC - In a developing story, a 65-year old woman who was caring for her neighbor's pit bull was attacked and killed by the animal. Sheriff E.J. Melvin said the attack happened off Stokes Bridge Road near the town of Lucknow. Officials have so far not identified the victim. Melvin said the dog belonged to the woman's neighbor, and she and her husband were caring for the pit bull when it attacked both of them.
Since 2005, South Carolina has suffered at least 6 fatal dog attacks, including the most recent incident. Of the six attacks, five (83%) are attributed to pit bull type dogs. To clarify the WISTV article, 22-month old Allen Young was mauled to death by his father's four pit bulls in 2006. In 2007, the father, Michael Anton Young Jr., 25, was charged with involuntary manslaughter. It is unknown what resulted in these charges.
South Carolina Fatal Attacks
- 2005 - Asia Michelle Turner, 4-years old | Spartanburg, SC
- 2006 - John Matthew Davis, 10-years old | Dillon, SC
- 2006 - Allen L. Young, 22-months old | Bamberg, SC
- 2007 - Brian Palmer, 1-years old | Charleston, SC
- 2007 - Holden Jernigan, 2-years old | Summerville, SC
02/04/09: A Recent Review of South Carolina Fatal Dog Attacks (2006-2008)