Pam Rock, 61, a rural postal carrier, was killed by a pack of dogs in Interlachen, Florida.
No Charges After Mauling
UPDATE 03/03/23: The State Attorney’s Office is not filing charges against the owner of a dog pack that killed a rural postal carrier last year in Putnam County. U.S. Postal Service employee Pam Rock, 61, was on her mail route in Interlachen on August 21 when her vehicle broke down. Upon exiting the truck, she was attacked by five large dogs belonging to Edgar Jowers. Deputies applied multiple tourniquets to control the bleeding, but she died of her injuries the next day.
Jowers' dogs routinely escaped his property and roamed the area, neighbors said. Putnam County animal control had been called to the area four times in the past. At least three calls were to Jowers’ home about his dogs. What we did not know last August is that Jowers had tried to surrender his dogs to animal control twice because he could no longer care for them; each request was ignored or denied. He also tried to fortify his “wire” fence to keep the dogs from escaping.
The Palatka Daily News obtained the 101 page investigation carried out by the State Attorney’s Office through a public records request. State officials summarized in their findings that given Jowers' actions --- his attempts to surrender the dogs and his attempts to fortify his fence -- they found “insufficient evidence" to prove the dogs’ owner “demonstrated a willful or wanton reckless disregard under the circumstances beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt.”
According to the filing, Putnam County Animal Control was first contacted about the dogs on September 15, 2021 because they needed to be fed. At that time, Jowers was incarcerated for a family felony offense. He was not released until October 5, 2021, which is why someone else was given the task of feeding his dogs. That person, who ended up contacting animal control, could not enter the property “because one of the dogs was too aggressive,” according to the State's filing.
The first time Jowers reached out to the county agency to surrender his dogs was on February 4, 2022. The call had been left on the agency’s answering machine. Due to a lack of resources, that call was never returned. No one from animal control spoke to Jowers. One week later, his dogs escaped again and attacked a man walking by Jowers’ property. The severity of his injuries required treatment at a hospital. Deputies told Jowers to home quarantine the dogs for 10 days.
The dogs attacked a second time too. On August 10, a woman filed a complaint that these dogs had escaped and attacked her vehicle. Animal control contacted Jowers and ensured that he made an effort to fortify his “wire” fence once again. During this meeting, Jowers tried to surrender his dogs again, but his request was denied. Eleven days later, the dogs escaped the fencing again and brutally attacked Rock after she exited her truck that had stalled close to Jowers’ property.
According to the State's filing, at no point did animal control attempt to classify the dogs as dangerous. Apparently, due to the county’s “no-kill” policies they do not accept owner surrenders, unless the intake situation is “dire.” At this very same time, the Putnam County shelter was over capacity due to its no-kill policies, which places the 90% “save rate” priority over public safety. The agency continues to beg for a newer and bigger shelter too, so they can warehouse more dogs.
Limited Intake Policies
We have seen multiple fatal dog attacks due to limited intake policies. On February 25, 2019, four of Courtney White’s pit bulls viciously attacked a man and killed a dog. At that time, White called Lubbock Animal Services to surrender the dogs, stating he could no longer keep them secure -- part of his backyard fence had blown down. The alleged “open admission” shelter told him he needed to “make an appointment” to drop off the dogs and the earliest timeslot was March 1.
On February 27, all six of White’s pit bulls escaped and fatally attacked Johnnie Mae Garner, 88. After the dogs killed Garner, animal control seized all six pit bulls -- no “waiting period” was required. During this same year, Johana Villafane, 33, was forced to board her two biting pit bulls at a private veterinary facility because the bite quarantine block at the Irving Animal Shelter was “at capacity.” While visiting her dogs at the veterinary facility, they attacked and killed her.
For inexplicable reasons last year, after a pack of dogs belonging to Brandy Dowdy viciously attacked Michele Sheeks, who had to be airlifted to a trauma unit, Franklin County Animal Control did not seize Dowdy’s vicious dogs. The very next day, Jaqueline Summer Beard, an Alabama Department of Health employee, went to Dowdy’s home under the impression they had been seized. She was wrong -- the dogs attacked and killed her. Her estate is now suing the county.
Three of these cases involve a “pack” of large dogs known to be dangerous due to previous attacks within a few days of the fatal attack. White had six pit bulls, a blown down fence and two previous victims. Would that qualify as a “dire” situation for intake? Jowers could not keep his pack of large, powerful dogs inside a flimsy “wire” fence held down by cinderblocks and rocks. Shouldn’t a “pack” of large dogs with a history of escaping and biting qualify as a “dire” situation for intake?
An Intake and Disposition Report from Putnam County Animal Control from August 10, 2022 to August 23, 2022 is filled with zeros. There were 0 intakes, 0 adoptions, 0 dogs being quarantined, 0 euthanasia, 0 escaped or stolen, 0 service calls and most importantly, there were 0 bites.
08/24/22: Dogs Escaped Enclosure
On Tuesday, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office held a press conference regarding the death of Pamela Rock, 61, a rural postal carrier, who died one day after being viciously attacked by five dogs while working her route in Interlachen. Deputies found Rock lying in the street with "heavy trauma." They applied multiple tourniquets to control the bleeding, Col. Joseph Wells said. The dogs were initially behind a wire fence, but were able to escape underneath it, Wells said.
There was no evidence of a breeding operation at the site. The owner of the dogs is cooperating, Wells said. We are treating this as a criminal investigation, he said. Sheriff's deputies and animal control officers had responded to this area four times in the past three years for animal-related calls, Wells said. At least two of those previous calls were related to the same address. It is not confirmed if those calls involved one or more of the same dogs that attacked Rock, he said.
Several neighbors, including the dogs' owner, rushed to pull the dogs off Rock. "One of the neighbors even brought his firearm along and fired several shots into the air and to the ground in an attempt to disrupt the attack," Wells said. "The investigation is still very active," Wells said. His office is in communication with the state attorney's office. However, in the state of Florida, a felony offense is only possible if one of the attacking dogs had previously been declared dangerous.
The New York Times spoke to a Ms. Campell, who lives near the dogs' owner and saw the ambulance and deputies drive down the dirt road and park beside the house where the five dogs resided. "They’re all aggressive," Campbell said, referring to the dogs. Those dogs "jumped the fence all the time," she said, causing problems in the neighborhood. Tyler Neelon, 24-years old, who lives next door to the dogs' owner, said the dogs once got loose and killed a chihuahua.
"They did not just attack her. They were ripping her apart." - Kaydee Richley
WTLV spoke to Rock's niece, Kaydee Richley, who described some of Rock's injuries. "She had one arm amputated before she passed and they had her other limbs in slings trying to save them," Richley said. "Her heart stopped twice and her blood pressure was all over the place," she said. Devasted, Richely wonders how this happened. "How did it get so far? Why was there just so many dogs just able to get to her? Where were the owners? Why were they not locked up?"
08/23/22: Dogs Kill Rural Postal Carrier
Putnam County, FL - On August 21, a 61-year old postal carrier was attacked by a pack of dogs in the Interlachen Lake Estates area after her vehicle was reported to have broken down, states a media release from the Putnam County Sheriff's Office. Putnam County deputies found the woman on the ground bleeding severely. Five dogs were nearby inside a fence at a residence in the 2000 block of Walker Drive. An unconfirmed social media post states the victim died late Monday.
On Tuesday, the victim was identified as 61-year old Pam Rock. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office also confirmed that she died.
Witnesses told deputies they saw the woman on the ground with five dogs attacking her. Several neighbors rushed to her aid, trying to pull the dogs off the woman. One neighbor shot a rifle into the ground to scare the dogs off. Arriving deputies began first aid, including applying tourniquets until rescue units arrived. The woman was taken to HCA Florida Putnam Hospital by ambulance then airlifted to a trauma center in Gainesville where she remained in critical condition Monday.
WJXT spoke to the man who shot the rifle. He said that helping the woman, "was the right thing to do," and that, "I would want someone to do it for me." She was a sweet lady who left "apples in the mailbox for the horse, and little notes here and there," he said. "She would ask about your kid, how your kid was doing." She was "a really nice lady," he said. Neighbors said the dogs involved were "bulldog-mixes," which in this part of the country means pit bull or American bulldog-mixes.
"Three of the four dogs suspected in the mauling death of a 62-year old doctor have been captured and are being held as evidence by police ... The dogs are reportedly "bulldog-mixes," which is a generic term in much of the south, including Georgia and Florida, that refers to both American bulldogs and fighting bulldogs -- pit bull terriers." - DogsBite.org, death of Dr. Nancy Shaw in Georgia, 2020
Another neighbor interviewed said the dogs have been a problem for a long time. The dogs routinely roamed the rural area, characterized by dirt roads, in a pack without collars or tags. "The dogs have been a nuisance for a long time," said the neighbor who wanted to remain anonymous. "They get into my garbage three or four days a week. When I try to shoo them away, they bark and growl and snarl at me." Animal control seized five dogs identified by witnesses in the attack.
POSTAL CARRIER ATTACKED BY DOGS SUNDAY IN INTERLACHEN
August 22, 2022 - A 61-year-old rural postal carrier was attacked by several dogs yesterday afternoon in the Interlachen Lake Estates area after her vehicle was reported to have broken down. Deputies responded found a woman on the ground with severe bleeding. Five dogs were nearby inside a fence at a residence in the 2000 block of Walker Drive.
Witnesses told deputies they heard a woman scream for help and when they went outside they saw her on the ground with five dogs attacking. Witnesses said several neighbors rushed to help by attempting to pull the dogs off and one neighbor shot a rifle into the ground to scare the animals. Deputies arriving on scene and started first aid assistance including applying tourniquets until rescue units arrived. The woman was transported to HCA Florida Putnam Hospital by ambulance and then flown to a trauma center in Gainesville where she remains in critical condition.
Animal Control arrived at scene and took custody of the five dogs identified by witnesses in the attack.
“Our hearts are with the victim and her family as they navigate through this tragic event,” Sheriff H.D. ‘Gator’ DeLoach said. “It is imperative that dog owners take responsibility in keeping their animals in a secured location for their safety and those around.”
This is an ongoing investigation. There is no further information available at this time. Additional information will be released when it becomes available. - Putnam County Sheriff's Office
06/30/23: My Sister Was Mauled to Death by Five Pit Bulls in Florida - Letter to Newsweek
11/19/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Killed by Pack of Dogs in Rural Jackson County, Florida
05/01/20: U.S. Postal Service Letter Carrier Murdered After Dispute Escalates Over Vicious Dog
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.