Corey Godsey, 13, was found dead after being attacked by dogs in Knott County.
Boy Killed by Dogs
UPDATE 08/13/20: After six months of investigating, Kentucky State Police (KSP) have determined the cause of death of 13-year old Corey Godsey. The teenager was found dead on February 18 in a suspected animal attack. His body was located 1,500 feet up a hillside behind a residence. With the assistance of Fish and Wildlife officers, KSP detectives utilized wildlife cameras to locate multiple dogs on an old mine site near the area where Godsey was found.
The dogs were transported to Kentucky River Animal Shelter in Hazard, where DNA samples were collected. The DNA samples were compared to evidence located on the victim. The lab results showed that specimens from several of the dogs matched those found on the victim. Authorities stated they did not know the types of dogs involved, reports the Troublesome Creek Times. Other news outlets are calling the dogs "wild." In other words, the dogs likely do not have owners.
Ownerless dogs involved in fatal attacks mainly occurrs on Indian reservations. In those few cases, it is more likely the dogs were owned and were roaming without collars. The limited media coverage in those cases makes it impossible to be sure. In the two non-reservation attacks involving stray dogs (< .4% of all fatalities since 2005), one involved multiple people feeding the dogs and the other was a pit bull in Detroit thought to be a stray abandoned by its owner.
A stray dog is not a feral dog. A stray dog is born and kept by humans and is either roaming at large or was abandoned by its owner. A feral dog is a domestic dog born to roaming dogs outside of any human care or contact. A "feral" dog can be first generation, second, etc -- but a feral dog was never kept or owned by a human. A "wild" dog and a "feral" dog are not interchangeable. A wild dog (See: African wild dog), is an individual of a species that has never been domesticated.
There are behavioral differences. Owned dogs and stray dogs have inflicted virtually all, if not all, fatal attacks in the U.S. "A stray will more easily make contact with a human, in a good or bad way depending on its experience with humans. A feral dog will be extremely shy of humans, as dogs tend to be of anything they weren't exposed to in the first six months of their lives," according to animal behaviorist Alexandra Semyonova. The investigation into Godsey's death remains ongoing.
02/19/20: Minor Found Dead; Dogs Suspected
Knott County, KY - Kentucky State Police confirm a juvenile died in a suspected animal attack in Knott County, an area in Eastern Kentucky. State troopers were called to the scene on KY-1102, also known as Montgomery Creek Road about 6:30 pm Tuesday. The minor was discovered dead in a wooded area several hundred feet up a hillside near a home in the Emmalena community, according to Trooper Jody Sims. Rain and dark conditions made finding the minor difficult.
"One person I thought said several hundred feet 300-400 feet up the hill. You know it was very steep, you know so it was a pretty good distance," Trooper Sims told WYMT. No confirmation of the type of animal involved in the attack was available late Tuesday. Though, Knott County Coroner Corey Watson was called to the scene of a suspected "canine attack involving a child." An autopsy is scheduled to be conducted Wednesday to determine the exact cause of death.
Speculation on Social Media
Destiny Caldwell, a woman who lives just up the road from the scene of the attack, said she heard a woman screaming for help and for someone to call 911. She called 911 while a male adult drove down the road to see if he could assist. The man returned once emergency services arrived and said that a child had been mauled by a pack of dogs. Caldwell was later told the boy was 13-years old and had died in the attack. Caldwell did not know the boy or any of the people involved.
Teenage Age Group Victims
Once again in the last 14 months we are writing about another possible teenage victim. In our 14-year data set of 471 dog bite fatalities (2005 to 2018), teenage deaths (12 to 18 years old) are exceptionally rare. There are only three teenage victims in this age group. Yet over the last 14 months, there may now be four of these deaths. That would mean that the number of teenagers killed by dogs during this 14-month period is more than during the previous 14 years combined.
Each of the attacks involving teenage victims in 2019 involved multiple dogs, and in each case the victim was male. In two deaths, Texas and Massachusetts, the victims had some familiarity with the dogs, but were killed on the dog owner's property. The most recent death occurred in December when 12-year old Victor Garces was killed by two loose pit bulls while walking home from school in Hollis, Oklahoma. The owners of the dogs were later charged with manslaughter.
Wednesday Autopsy Results
An autopsy performed at the State Medical Examiner's Office in Frankfort on Wednesday confirmed the cause of death, but a specific animal has not been determined. "Their initial determination was this was caused by injuries consistent with an animal attack," said Trooper Sims. At the time of the attack, the teenager was staying at a relative's home, but he was familiar with the area. Officials continue to withhold the boy's name until they can rule out a criminal act.
Troopers say people in the area should remain "hyper vigilant", especially at night, but there is no immediate threat to the community.1
Meanwhile, a relative or friend of the boy's family has started a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral costs. "13 Year-old Corey Godsey was tragically killed yesterday during an animal attack. I am asking our county, communities and friends to please help with the expenses of this sweet child's funeral," states the page. Just hours after starting the fund, the organizer states, "I'm speechless, and completely at a loss for words. We have already met our goal for the initial down payment."
Note: We understand that police need to call this a suspected "animal attack" until they have more information, but frankly that only fuels unfounded rumors about coyotes or other wild animals.
12/18/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Multiple Dogs Killed Teenager Walking Home from School
08/13/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Texas Teen Dies After Brutal Attack by Three Pit Bulls
06/21/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Dighton Dog Attack Leaves a 14-Year Old Boy Dead...
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.
99% probability that the animals were owned by someone and that they were dogs. Anyone on earth who sets foot outside of their bedroom takes a risk of a grave threat of being attacked by dogs.
Being inside your bedroom won’t save you. Remember Sue Gorman, who was sleeping in her bedroom when a neighbor’s 2 pit bulls pushed open the home’s front door? They were hunting her dog, which they’d attacked in the past; they tracked it into her bedroom, attacked it, killed a dog she was dogsitting, and mauled her.
Thank you. Yes, you are correct. The proximity of human beings with un- and/or predictably dangerous animals brings some risk of grave threat. Of course, there are many, many similar tragic cases. Again, thank you.
How did the dogs drag the boy 400 feet up a cliff face?
Seems weird to me, what 13 year old goes trekking up a steep hill that far by themselves? Kids have better things to do these days and he doesn’t necessarily look like an outdoorsy kid, but I could be wrong. Just saying this is weird.
Are you blaming a kid for playing outside?
I had computers and game systems, I still ventured outside. I knew our hundred acres in and out, and the neighboring properties too. Even one area that the only way to get down was your butt, and only way back up was grabbing saplings and tree roots and pulling yourself up.
He might have wondered out to get away from tension in the household. He should not have had to worry about dogs killing him.
Someone had to be feeding the dogs. They should be held responsible.
Based on the geographical location, this is either going to be from pits or coonhounds. If reports come out to be strays or mixed breeds, this is basically code for pits. Right now, someone is trying to disown their dogs so this doesn’t come back to them.
The main tool that I think would protect a person against a bully dog attack would be a battery powered chainsaw.
All too often, bully dogs have continued attacking even after being shot and stabbed repeatedly.
The results of the ATTS show that even gun shots won’t stop 86% of bully dogs. In part 4 of the ATTS, a starter pistol is fired 3 times behind the dog. Dogs that panic fail the test. 86% of bully dogs pass the test.
CO2 Fire extinguisher, easier to use, less bloody according to Animals24/7.
Too many things left out of the report. Will be interested in following the emerging details. I agree, someone owns these dogs. Prayers, as always, for the family
Details? Someone knows, but they still aren’t saying:
“Updated: Fri 5:38 PM, Feb 21, 2020. … … …Investigators still haven’t said what kind of animal may have been involved in the attack.”
Just severely depressing.
The whole community was threatened into secrecy. Listen to this interview of a man who knows everyone in that area and gives some really important information about the incident https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NKd1Sbsriw
Gosh he is just a little guy. He didn’t have a chance. So sorry another life cut short.
Your article ends with indicates a “domesticated dog”. Domesticated dogs don’t kill. He may be someones dog but is NOT domesticated. Also we all should follow up on a similar death of a 73 year old schoolteacher in Beaufort in Jan of LAST year. She was also mauled and their is STILL no resolution. I don’t know whether or not there is a coverup or the investigators are all like Barney Fife.
The whole community was threatened into secrecy. Listen to this interview of a man who knows everyone in that area and gives some really important information about the incident https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NKd1Sbsriw Please hear him out for the whole interview. And then read the comments below the video. The interview was done 4 months ago. These guys are genuine and looking for truth. Don’t let the title chase you off. They are not saying it’s for sure the subject on the title. But please don’t listen with a closed mind on that topic.
Loose dogs should be subject to being shot on sight. Tired of morons who let their dogs run loose with this being the result. This could be prevented with routine house checks by animal uncontrol to be sure dogs are property licensed, microchipped or tagged, vaccinated, contained and insured. If they levied a fine for each violation they’d be rolling in dough. But they’d rather be pit bull social workers after the fact.
Yup. Instead of social workers we need animal control to be what they started out as, dog police. With pits being rampant now every ACO needs an AR-15 and a shot gun in addition to their side arm. Bullet proof vest and bite sleeves are a good idea too.
Thank you for the update. Local powers know that someone is not going to let these cases be permanently swept under the rug. Thank you for being that someone!
Several hundred times, at first blush, appears to be a statistically significant proportion of times that pit bull owners falsely claim that that a family owned pit bull did not perpetrate the attack. I wonder how this compares with the proportion of pit bull family owners who do not falsely deny that the family owned pit bull perpetrated the fatal attack. Oh, and if family survivors of the victim are motivated to falsely claim that the family owned dog did not perpetrate the attack, does that usually mean that police investigators will likewise be motivated to cease investigation of such cases?
They could test DNA on dog hair in the home, the car, or the dog house/pen/run outside. Better yet, all the feces in the yard/home. They could take several samples so the uncle can’t claim that is contamination.
Who, for the sake of all that is good and right, would obfuscate the truth in order to protect the dog that potentially killed their own child? There is something dreadfully amiss in the mentality (and the morality) of these people if that’s the case.
I’ve personally known someone to blatantly lie in order to protect their dog from the stigma of having bitten a small child in the face with no provocation and within arms’reach of three adults including the owners. It wasn’t a pit bull (thankfully), but it was the dog of a close relative and she later claimed that her dog had been “startled” by the child… instead of stating the truth that the child had asked permission to pet the dog and had been doing so gently for several long moments before the dog attacked. Why lie in this case? I guess to make her dog look better and deflect any negative feelings people may have had about them keeping him. But lying to cover up for a dog that KILLED YOUR OWN CHILD… what sort of unfeeling callous mother could do that and still live with herself? What sort of uncle could whisk the dog away to places unknown while his nephew lies cold and dead?
What sort of people are these?
It’s all rhetorical. I know what sort they are. They are the type that believe their “right” to own their breed of choice is more important than the lives of humans. Thus I shouldn’t be surprised that their actions are completely selfish.
This is a potential Dogman attack.
Damn shame there has been no updates on this. I don’t blame you Colleen. You are doing excellent work on this subject. No, I damn to hell the authorities who are supposed to keep us safe who refuse to tell the truth about “man’s best friends”,
I just heard the tail end of a WDKY-TV news broadcast about the Godsey investigation. Said it was “feral dogs”. I didn’t hear the beginning of the broadcast and I can’t find anything in google searches yet. Maybe tomorrow there will be an update available online.
So, the dogs are in custody but they “don’t know what kind” they are? Uh, it’s really not that hard to look at the phenotype and surmise ancestry. Photos would be really nice in this case. If the killing animals had turned out to be coyotes, I can almost guarantee that photos of those coyotes would abound, as well as demands for coyote control in the area.
Simply because they didn’t even hazard a guess on the breed, I’m going to assume they were clearly pit mixes and someone doesn’t want to stir up trouble. I’ll change my mind when I see a photo.
Pun on “Hazard”. LOL. (“The dogs were transported to Kentucky River Animal Shelter in Hazard.”)
I’m originally from that area (Not in KY, but I was born, raised, and lived in VA until I was 32, 3~ish years ago. My last VA residence was about a half hour away from where this unfortunate young man was attacked.) There’s just something about people there and their damned ‘pits’.
It’s not much better where I live now (East TN), but I think the complete lack of economic opportunities (loss of coal mining) combined with the rampant drug use that makes it worse in that area. I’ve watched people fork out hundreds of dollars to get their prized ‘red nose’ while their children basically live in squalor and in constant fear of their utilities being shut off for nonpayment. They’ll brag about their ‘brindle baby’s’ bloodline to anyone that will listen but couldn’t tell your their daughter’s birthday if you offered them a stack of hundred dollar bills. (These are not just judgemental anecdotes I’m using to put down the people living in that part of Appalachia. I love the place and the people. These are real, literal instances that I’ve witnessed firsthand.)
My only personal experience with pit ownership was thanks to my darling wife. Before we got married, I’d decided to get a small dog for my house to keep me company, but my friend Travis’s two dogs had puppies and when she saw this little blonde thing at his house, I knew she’d picked out ‘my’ dog. It was 1/2 pit, 1/4 boxer, 1/4 Walker coonhound (mother was a pit, sired by a boxer/Walker mix).
I raised that dog well, and correctly, in my opinion. He was a gentle dog for the most part, listened well, and was fun to be around. He slept beside me at night and was good company. I called him Hank and we had over two years of time at my place. But sometimes, there was a ‘shift’ in him that I’d see. It was like that pit bull portion of his DNA kicked in and he was a different dog. Shark eyes, lowered head, raised shoulders, methodically hunting whatever triggered him. My wife said I was imagining it. We got married and he integrated well with her 10yo Jack Russell mix.
Until he just… didn’t. My wife and I were on our porch about 15ft above our 3/4+ acre fenced dog lot, and her old dog Sam walked by Hank, and Hank just snapped. With no reasoning, no changes in situation, no food or toys involved, without being startled, Hank locked his jaws onto Sam’s neck and pinned him into the dirt. It was the most brutal dog attack I’ve seen in person.
In our split-level house, both exits are at the opposite end of our house from the porch we were on. My wife, through whatever wife magic she has, picked up a heavy ceramic flower pot the size of a soccer ball, lifts it over her head, and hits Hank square in the forehead. On contact, he lets Sam go, shakes off the blow, and then looks at my wife, his Momma and his favorite person ever, and briefly snarls and growls in her direction.
That was only incident I needed to know that Hank was leaving. It took a couple weeks to get him into somewhere that would take him, and honestly, I’d have put him down myself that day had I not been convinced otherwise. That’s how wary I was of him after that incident. If that would’ve been my then-1yo daughter instead of Sammy, there’s not even a remote chance she’d have survived.
There’s so many people with those dogs in the area, and if more than 3-5% of those are capable, knowledgeable, responsible owners, then there ain’t a cow in Texas. They breed anything ‘pit’ with anything ‘pit’ and sell unregistered puppies to the first guy with a hundred dollar bill. And none of this is even taking into account the people actively making some aggressive for ‘watchdogs’ or ‘protection animals’ while having absolutely no idea how to do so or what doing so correctly entails.
I’d wager the pack of dogs that ended this young life so needlessly and tragically had at least a couple of abandoned pits that owners couldn’t handle/didn’t want anymore/lost control of. If prior ownership of even ONE of those animals could be proven, then Kentucky needs to bring to bear the full weight of the law on that person. This boy did not deserve this, and owning an animal bred for years specifically to inflict damage then turning it loose to be other people’s problem should not be ignored.
The boy was not torn up. He had bite marks on his neck and shoulder/arm. And I think his chest was caved in. The community there including the mom was told to shut up or else.