Police believe Kay Torres died after being attacked by a pack of dogs at Taos Pueblo.
Woman Killed by Dogs
Taos Pueblo, NM - Law enforcement believe a woman was killed by a pack of dogs on tribal land in early January. Taos Pueblo Gov. Edwin Concha confirmed that the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator is looking into her death. The obituary for 52-year old Kay Torres states she passed away unexpectedly on January 8. Her sister, Sandra Bible, said Torres had worked for Taos Pueblo Head Start as well as Taos Public Schools over the years, reports Taos News.
According to a Taos County dispatch log, a caller reported seeing Torres' body surrounded by a group of dogs that were attacking her near the intersection of Leaf Arrow Lane and Willow Lane. The caller fended off the dogs with a stick. When the dogs moved away, the caller could see bite marks on Torres' arms and legs. "It appears that Kay Torres was killed by a pack of dogs," Taos Pueblo Tribal Police Officer James Gladeau reported from the scene, according to the log.
The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator has not confirmed the cause of death in a reported dog mauling that occurred eight days ago.
The log report did not indicate how many dogs were involved or if the dogs were later captured. According to Bible, loose dogs have been an ongoing issue in the community. "We've been hearing that this was not the first dog attack on tribal land," Bible told Taos News. "They have something out there where you're not supposed to have more than two dogs. But everybody has more than that. There's no control on the reservation." Tribal policy limits households to two dogs.
Kay left behind six children, according to her obituary. One of her children, Nightwalker, posted on Facebook on January 12, "I love you so much! Watch over all us and now you can rest. She might of been struggling with life but she always stayed fighting and made the best of things even if we didn’t have a whole lot." Bible, who lives in Tulsa, told Taos News she and Torres are Taos Pueblo and Muscogee, a tribe based in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Torres later settled at Taos Pueblo.
Fatal Dog Attacks on Reservations
Our nonprofit has recorded 12 fatal dog attacks on Indian reservations since 2007. The actual number is unknown, as media reports are often limited on tribal lands. Reservations in Arizona and New Mexico have the most fatal dog maulings. Pack attacks involving loose dogs -- loose dogs that have owners -- are the most common scenario. Several years ago, two fatal attacks on adjacent reservations in South Dakota, Rosebud and Pine Ridge, drew significant media attention.
Learn about breed-specific laws on Indian reservations in our Breed Safety Laws section.
07/23/16: 2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Pit Bulls Kill Boy on Navajo Nation Reservation
03/17/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Dogs on Rosebud Indian Reservation
11/22/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Dogs Kills Child on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.
Bullets aren’t expensive. How many people have to die before they clean up the problem?
I know somebody very well in Prescott who shelled out about a dollars worth in October 2017, and about two dollars worth in October 2018. He has almost 9,000 pedestrian miles in what appears to be nice residential neighborhoods, and no bite marks on his legs or arms. But it definitely ain’t for their lack of extreme trying.
This spiritual malady cuts across all economic groups, all geographic regions, all ethnic groups, all types of societal classifications. Rich and poor, black-and-white, urban and rural, eastern and western, northern and southern, are all affected by people who hate their neighbor, and who are also affected by governments who hate their neighbors, and who allow dangerous animals to attack the unwary. When people and governments no longer hate their neighbor, when the spiritual malady is replaced by love, this problem will be solved. In this case, someone in a position to do something about the problem knew about the problem, but was negligent, because they did not love their neighbor.
I was in Taos Pueblo about two years ago now. Just a visitor, but I got to talking to one of the shop owners in the actual Pueblo. She had just chased a dog out of her photography shop, and I thought she was yelling at me. She told me how awful the dog problem was there, but the dogs were ‘owned’ by other tribal members so there wasn’t much folks could do about it. No licensing or leash laws on their lands. She speculated that it would take a death for the tribe to take the issue seriously.
Most of the dogs I saw were run of the mill ‘tribal mix’ dogs, but there were definitely a few with pit genes in them. I figured it was only a matter of time before that death happened.
Well, here it is. I wish her the best at getting something to change now. Sometimes it takes more than one to get the point across – just look at Dayton.
This issue cuts across so many barriers. As a society, we must correct the issues leading up to these preventable attacks. My thoughts and prayers are with her family
One of the reasons things don’t change much is that instead of focusing on the threat, people focus on the victim. People find excuses to deny it could happen to them. After all, they walk around the dogs all the time. So they think it must have been something about her that caused the attack. Denial is a powerful force. Very sad to imagine losing a loved one that way.
My late mother was getting pummeled with mailings from some non-profit that called itself Reservation Animal Rescue. You’d think that they’d be all over the “homeless pets wandering around reservations” issue, but I didn’t see any evidence of that.
Instead, they were relentless about sending their fundraising mailings. And, since she died and her mail is being forwarded to me, I’m getting them now.
IMHO, this is yet another so-called rescue group that is more focused on the money than on actually solving the problem, which is the over-breeding of unwanted dogs.
These “rescue” organizations seem to only have a problem with the breeding of desirable, WANTED dogs. The adopt-don’t-shop mantra is now so firmly ingrained in society that people are attacked for having a pure bred dog or purposefully, intentionally bred mixed breed dog instead of for having a shelter dog. But what these rescues don’t want people to realize is that their real purpose is not reducing the number of dogs in shelters, but in getting people to give money. A truer slogan for them should be “don’t buy a good dog, shop with us!” Because people are still SHOPPING when they get a rescue dog, whether they want to admit it or not. Unless an individual goes in and says, “Give me your oldest, sickest dog which has been here the longest, sight unseen and no questions asked,” they are still SHOPPING.
Getting people to give money. And vulnerable elderly people like my mother fell for their pitches. Bigtime.
It took quite an effort to get her OFF the mailing lists of Reservation Animal Rescue and other groups like it.
That’s why the forwarded fundraising appeals are so annoying. And stupid. I mean, come on. They’re trying to raise money from a dead woman.
Every time they send another one of their pitches, I return it without a donation. And, next to my mother’s name, I write things like this:
What part of DECEASED don’t you understand?
Several years ago , we adopted a dog from the pound in Aurora Colorado. They received several feral dog a year from Taos New Mexico. Ours was a border collie mix, about 6 months old and she was near feral. I loved her dearly, but that was a lot of work! Anytime you have 3 or more dogs it is a pack and they act differently. The Taos shelter has hardly any money.
Pack behavior can be an influence but breed heritage matters more.
A pack of beagles, essentially none of them sterilized, just meeting for the first time in a field at a hunting trial, essentially never fight. Same with bird dogs and herding dogs.
If two people take their beagle dogs hunting, and beagle A tries to kill beagle B, on neutral ground, beagle A doesn’t come home. The owner of aggressive beagle would be embarrassed.
If two people take their pit dogs to an event, and pit bull A doesn’t kill pit bull B, on neutral ground, pit bull A doesn’t come home. The owner of non -aggressive pit bull would be embarrassed.
Dog fighters, the true experts of unprovoked prolonged, deadly, suicidal aggression, know that bully dogs are different and the best at maturing to suddenly have the drive to attack and not stop. It depends on the dog when they mature and suddenly have the drive, to start or turn on, as dogfighters call it.
Dog fighters describe their dogs by bloodlines and fighting weights because that’s what matters most.
Dog fighters, the kill or die trying type, all choose bully dogs, because normal dogs simply aren’t “good” at attacking, mauling and killing unprovoked.
A 71 year old woman was severely mauled by a pit bull she was caring for. The emergency response unveiled that the dog involved with her attack was owned by dog fighters. York County, S.C.
True for hunting and gundogs but not really true for herding type dogs -they never had to be friendly with strange dogs (or people) as herding trials don’t take place with dogs from multiple farms on the field at once. They are usually kept at heel or leashed while not trialling so the dogs don’t have to interact with each other.
Lots of herding type dogs are quite antagonistic towards other dogs, they don’t generally mix well with a bunch of unknown dogs, although certainly they won’t normally try to kill them. Depends on socialization as well, but their default setting seems to be suspicion and aloofness towards other dogs and people.
What a horrific way to die, this poor woman. I think society in general doesn’t worry much about what happens on reservations, and this is obviously a huge issue that needs caring about.
I hate to say it but I think you’re right. And I have to admit that I’m part of the problem because this dog-related death doesn’t seem to bother me as much as all the other innocent victim ones do. It took me a few days to finally comment on it if that’s not evidence enough. But I also put some responsibility on the tribal elders and their media. Very little details are released which limits empathy from readers of this news. This also limits any call to action from society outside of their Nation.
I used to go to school at Taos Day School where she worked in 1999. I don’t remember her, so maybe she was there later or taught a different grade. There were tons of rez dogs there, and one in particular was known to be mean: a big reddish/orange Chow-Chow. They never bothered me, but I was scared of that dog. I hope they change things there, as I want to change things were I live, too.