Both Owners Face Criminally Negligent Homicide Charges
Andrew Woods, 57, was killed by multiple "American bullies" in Anton, Texas.
Dog Owners Face Felony
UPDATE 03/03/23: The owners of three dogs that viciously attacked and killed a man in June of 2022 have been arrested in connection to his mauling death. The owners of the dogs, 71-year-old Jose Manuel Elizondo and 65-year-old San Juanita Elizondo, have been arrested and indicted, according to court records. They have been charged with criminally negligent homicide, reports KCBD. Both dog owners are being held in the Hockley County jail on a $75,000 bond.
Criminally negligent homicide under Texas state law is a felony offense (Sec. 19.05). Hockley County does not have criminal court records online, so we could not confirm the statute. But the Texas felony dog attack law (822.005) indeed addresses “criminal negligence” for failure to secure the dog and the dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person that occurs at a location other than the owner's real property … that causes serious bodily injury ... or death” of person.
A report from the Levelland & Hockley County News Press clarifies the pair was charged under the felony dog attack law -- this is an important distinction because that stature carries stiffer penalties. “The defendant who was the owner of dogs, recklessly or with criminal negligence, failed to secure the dogs. The dogs made an unprovoked attack on Andrew Lynn Woods that occurred at a location other than the defendant’s property that resulted in the death of Woods.”
06/15/22: Man Killed by Dogs
Anton, TX - On the morning of June 10, 2022, Hockley County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the 800 block of Tarver Street in reference to a deceased man in the driveway of a home and began investigating his death. At that time, a photojournalist at the scene reported that multiple dogs were seen taken away from by animal control officers. On June 14, the Hockley County Sheriff's Office issued a press release stating the suspicious death investigation was ongoing.
Investigation Continues in Anton Death
On the morning of Friday, June 10, 2022, at approximately 7:12 AM, Hockley County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to an address in the 800 block of Tarver Street, Anton, Hockley County, Texas, in reference to a possible deceased male in the driveway of the residence. Emergency Medical assistance was also requested at the residence. Deputies were advised there were three dogs around the male at the time he was discovered, and he had possibly suffered bites from the dogs.
Upon arrival, responding deputies located a male subject, later identified as Andrew Woods, 57, of Anton, unresponsive in the driveway in front of the home. The Justice of the Peace for Precinct 4 was contacted, who responded and pronounced the male deceased at the scene. An autopsy was requested and was performed on Monday, June 13, 2022. As of Monday evening, initial findings related to cause and manner of death have not been released by the judge and more information is expected when complete autopsy results are submitted.
Related to the case, the three dogs located at the scene were quarantined following the incident and await a hearing to determine whether there will be a declaration of dangerous dogs.
We express our most sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Woods for the loss of their loved one. The investigation into the incident is ongoing and more information will be released when available by the Sheriff’s Office. - Sheriff R. Scifres, Hockley County Sheriff's Office, June 14, 2022
On June 15, media outlets reported that results from the autopsy performed two days earlier ruled the cause of death as multiple blunt and penetrating injuries due to a dog attack. The manner of death was ruled an accident. On the same day, a hearing was held in Justice of the Peace Court in Precinct 4, in Anton. The three dogs involved, identified by law enforcement as "American bullies" -- a pit bull "designer" breed -- were ordered seized due to causing the death of a person.
Everythinglubbock.com reported the entire update from the Hockley County Sheriff's Office. The updated information addresses the dog breed, the dog seizure hearing, and potential criminal liability in the case. The latter indicates that the victim, 57-year old Andrew Woods, was not the owner of the dogs. It is unknown who owns the dogs and if the dogs escaped an enclosure prior to attacking and killing Woods, which would likely fall under the Texas felony dog attack statute.
On the morning of Friday, June 10, 2022, at approximately 7:12 AM, Hockley County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to an address in the 800 block of Tarver Street, Anton, Hockley County, Texas, in reference to a possible deceased male in the driveway of the residence. Upon arrival, responding deputies located a male subject, later identified as Andrew Woods, 57, of Anton, unresponsive in the driveway in front of the home.
The Justice of the Peace for Precinct 4 was contacted, who responded and pronounced Woods deceased at the scene. An autopsy was ordered and was performed on Monday, June 13, 2022. According to the information released from Judge Wood, Justice of the Peace Precinct 4, and South Plains Forensic Pathology, the manner of death was ruled Accidental and cause of death was listed as resulting from multiple blunt and penetrating injuries due to a dog attack.
Related to the case, the three dogs located at the scene were quarantined following the incident and on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, a hearing was held in Justice of the Peace Court in Precinct 4, in Anton. The three dogs, identified as “American Bullie” breeds, were ordered to be seized due to causing a death of a person.
Related to any potential criminal culpability in the case, the matter remains under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office with cooperation from the District Attorney’s Office, and no determination has been made as of yet related to criminal charges. More information will be released when it is available and when further determinations are made related to the incident.
Deaths Inflicted by American Bullies
Fatal dog maulings inflicted in by American bullies, "developed as a natural extension of the American pit bull terrier," according to the United Kennel Club, have been increasing in the US since 2014, and increasing in Canada and the UK as well. The most recent fatal American bully attack in the US -- a dog that was predominantly mastiff, not pit bull -- occurred in February, when a hulking pit bull-type rescue dog, named "Gladys" killed a volunteer at a Florida rescue facility.
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02/18/22: 2022 Dog Bite Fatality: Hulking Pit Bull-Type Dog Kills Woman at Rescue Dog Facility
11/23/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Houston Police Suspect Woman Killed by Her Own Dogs
05/12/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: 46-Year Old Man Killed by Pit Bull in Big Spring, Texas
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.