Evangeline Brooks, a beloved church leader, died after being mauled by a neighbor's pit bull.
No Felony Charges
UPDATE 11/29/22: The criminal investigation after the mauling death of 88-year old Evangeline Brooks has ended. It was determined that no felony charges would be brought against the owner of the dog, Tracey Hicks. On November 7, Brooks was attacked by Hicks’ pit bull after she called out to Hicks while standing in a nearby yard. According to the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, the greeting startled Hicks and her unleashed dog suddenlty attacked Books.
A statement from the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office also indicates the pit bull was wearing a shock collar that the canine did not respond to, so Hicks had to beat her own dog with a rake: “The dog did not respond to the Ms. Hicks’ use of the shock collar and Ms. Hicks had to beat her dog with a rake before she was able to drag the dog off of Ms. Brooks. Ms. Hicks put the dog in her house, called 911 and immediately returned to assist Mrs. Brooks,” the statement reads.
Hicks was issued five summonses, including: Dog No Breeder’s Permit, Nuisance Dog, Dog No City License, Dog No Current Rabies Vaccination and Unrestrained Dog. Each infraction is a Class 4 misdemeanor, the lowest level criminal offense in Virginia. Hicks surrendered her dog to Richmond Animal Care and Control directly after the attack and the dog was immediately put down. If found guilty on all five misdemeanor charges, Hicks could face a total penalty of $1,250.
11/10/22: Woman Dies After Dog Attack
Richmond, VA - On Monday, a retired school teacher and beloved church leader was severely mauled by a pit bull in her neighborhood. 88-year old Evangeline Brooks was attacked by the dog as she walked to her late sister's home in the 1500 block of Alaska Drive in South Richmond. She died the following day. Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) Director Christie Chipps-Peter confirmed the organization euthanized the attacking dog, which she identified as a pit bull-mix.
First Baptist Church of South Richmond senior pastor and former Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones said Brooks "was the salt of the Earth, she was a wonderful person," and "for a person in their upper 80s to lose their life in such a horrendous way, it is something that really causes us concern on top of our grief." Richmond police are currently working with RACC and will consult with the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office regarding any potential charges. The investigation is ongoing.
Jones served as the Mayor of Richmond from 2009 to 2015 and was a Virginia state delegate from 1994 to 2009. Jones said that local and state officials need to pass stronger laws. "There need to be laws that will dictate the consequences of those dogs when they take the life of a woman in her upper 80s," Jones said. "We think that the General Assembly and city council [take action]. There needs to be some type of laws that will address this kind of issue going forward," Jones said.
Felony Dog Attack Law
In 2006, after an 82-year old woman was killed by her neighbor's pit bulls, the state legislature passed a felony dog attack law. A guilty verdict requires proving beyond a reasonable doubt that any owner whose "willful act or omission in the care, control, or containment of a canine" is "so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life," and is the proximate cause of such dog or other animal attacking and causing serious bodily injury to any person.
All that is known about the dog's owner at this time is that the person is female. The victim's neighbor, Roxanne Tune, describes what happened when she learned the dog had bitten Brooks in the neck. "I took off running down there. I saw her laying there, and the lady of the dog or the owner was holding her [neck] pressuring…I asked if she was breathing?" Brooks was transported to a local hospital, but according to her son, Howvard Brooks, she was already brain-dead.
Howvard had to make the difficult decision to remove her from life support. "My mother went 30 minutes without breathing when they were working on her," he said. "They said she would not come out of the coma that she was in." He continues to be in shock. "My mother was incredible. She was phenomenal," Howvard said. "It is a big loss. It is a big loss for me. I know that I made up my mind that each day I need to be the best that I can be," Howvard said fighting back tears.
Began as Cat Attack
Early video footage from WIRC states the attack began as an animal attack. "As the 88-year old was in the driveway, a dog next door that was loose initially went after a cat that was near her, but ended up attacking Brooks." Police have not confirmed this scenario. However, this type of redirected attack that began as animal aggression then redirected onto a human is why shelters should never adopt out dogs with serious animal aggression, but they do so routinely anyway.
11/15/21: Letter to Candidates for Virginia Governor Outlining Poor Civil, Criminal Dog Bite Laws
01/04/21: Working at an Open Intake Shelter: Deliberate Breed Mislabeling, Aggressive Dogs...
10/16/19: A Pit Bull Adoption Disaster: Two Dead Cats, One Returned Pit Bull and Deep Regret
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.
Another dead senior slaughtered horrifically in the jaws of a pitbull.
My deepest condolences to her family and community who have lost someone so vital to them in such a devastating way.
Perhaps due to Ms. Jones’ high profile, fixing the Pitbull Problem will get some much needed support in the public eye.
Richmond Animal Care & Control has an escalating record of promotion of Pit Bulls as family pets-“Tommie” license plates and “I love Pit Bulls” stickers abound on cars here after the terrible crime of “Tommie the Pit Bull” Ms Peters the spokesman mentioned in the article presented on just that at the Virginia Animal Control annual meeting in Oct. I questioned the appropriateness of promotion of these animals to families and children with such activities that included a widespread story of 2nd graders at St Michaels school in Richmond. The children wrote letters posing as hard to place dogs to encourage adoptions. My questions were deflected with earnest assurances that only safe animals were adopted out. Seeing as how RACC is a public shelter and populated primarily by Pit Bulls as every other public shelter in the United States, it is a stretch to believe that only safe dogs are adopted out.
If you’re being told that only safe animals are being adopted out, and they obviously aren’t, well, there’s a word for that. Let me spell it out, slowly and carefully, so there’s no misunderstanding:
There’s another element, though, which is that many pitbulls who wind up attacking people have not shown signs of aggression before. Often, they attack their owners (or family members) after having been raised from puppies, for 2 or 5 or 8 or 10 years … then suddenly, boom. Obviously, many shelters DO hide dogs’ bite histories (and should be held legally liable), but ALSO, many dogs adopted out actually DON’T have a history of aggression.
Keep it up Bonny Like the beautiful song sung by Ms Jones “Tell em’ what you want’
Strongly worded Ordinances that is what.
Promote it and more power to you!
Bonny T Lee, I recognize your name from your active interest in preventing pitbull mailings. As I recall, you are a nurse and provided the info that pitbull pack survivor Jocelyn S. has been treated in restorative surgeries by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. That was in response to the pitbull advocate Colin Dayan’s recent article of untruths about pitbull history.
Thank you for all you do!
I recall that Virginia is sentencing the grandparents of a little girl, Olivia, mauled to death by their rottweiler. I remember the murder sentence was more fair than what we have seen from some other states. So I hope there will also be strong sentencing by the state of Virginia for the death of Evangeline Brooks.
Despite f.i.v.e * 5 * violations of the law, pitbull owner Tracey Hicks will not be charged criminally in the mauling death of Miss Evangeline.
Latest update: 4 low-level misdemeanors and an $875 fine. That’s it!
I guess the operative word is “safe”. *Who* is determining that? *How* are they determining that? *What breed characteristics* are considered in determining that? What *timeframe* is used in determining that? Under what circumstances is the dog deemed safe?
Therein lies the problem.
Almost all puppies are “safe” relatively speaking. So are most dogs under their teenage years.
Is a dog that chases cats considered safe? What if the dog catches it? If the dog growls at other dogs, is that safe? What happens if there’s more than growling, going on?
Since shelter dogs that are surrendered are often surrendered because the owner can’t manage their behaviour through either incompetence or because the dog is genetically hard to manage, how is that determined and what measures are in place for such less optimal dogs to be housed with experienced owners and what assurances do those experienced owners have that it was the handling of the dog and not the dog itself that is the problem?
See what I’m getting to, here?
There are relatively behaviourally safe dogs and that does not tend to be the majority of large surrendered dogs unless the dog was surrendered for financial, physical or myriad reasons that don’t have to do with the owner’s inability to manage the dog’s behaviour.
Agreed, and also bully dog breeders breed for insanity. Their goal as “mad scientist” dog breeders is to create dogs that will mature to have the pathological drive and the ability to kill family, their own kind.
It’s not possible to determine or predict the safety of purposely created insane individuals
The best fighting dogs do not waste energy showing aggression. There is zero reason to give warning before attacking when the “good” game insane bully dog’s reason to live is to attack, maul, kill on neutral ground, for no external reason.
Good bully dogs carry the reason to maul and kill everywhere they go. It’s mutant man-made instinct: inside, invisible and impossible to predict.
I scroll to free dog on Nextdoor that folksy little ‘just your neighbors’ site based out of San Fransisco and direct them to dogsbite.org which thankfully turns to blue so anyone can click on the word to get to this site from there the education begins.
We just had a thankfully reported and of which I need to go back to news report and send to this database incident where 2 pit bulls (mixes their sires or dams. that is Ordinance wording that you must learn in order to make the world a better place by calling your Mayor/Sheriff
and having a strong Ordinance put in place)
came out of no where and mauled to death 2 4H pigs that were housed ready for showing.
Pit bulls then ran to the entrance of the Elementary school where they were properly shot by a Sheriff’s Deputy.
I also just subscribed to Arkansas Police Activity youtube channel which covers most of the Jurisdictions in my State where I then comment about ‘stepping up to the plate’ and protecting citizens on each video I view.
I use that high speed chases involve P.I.T. which is a police maneuver to push the narrative back to pit bulls.
And those my brave and caring friends is how we will change the world to safer place for humans their babies, livestock and companion pets
I refer people to this site too, some suggest it’s a biased site but I tell them that each case is verified, these attacks and deaths actually happen, it’s not just made up to upset the pit nutter cultists.
I refer people to this site too. On a forum I belong to, we recently had a discussion of a lowly pitt bull that recently killed a baby and a child. One guy was constantly defending the beasts because he owns 2 “Sweety Bears that would never hurt a fly,” but everyone else pointed out how he cared more about the beasts than the children involved, and ignored all the stories people linked. He opposed every person who dared go against him, using all the usual defenses, including other dogs bite and kill too. I got sick of this and finally ended the discussion by posting a link to this site’s “study of dog bites”, with DogBite’s quote that pitts have the MOST devastating bites requiring the MOST extensive surgery.
Susan, thanks for your activism on behalf of pitbull attack survivors. A toddler was mauled by a dog one week ago in the NW corner of your state Arkansas in Washington County. There has been no further info available from the Sheriff’s Office in the news.
My first university is located in the contiguous county there, where Sam Walton began Walmart, so I am aware there has been great sorrow in that corner of Arkansas in the last week or two. My condolences to you Arkansas residents.
There are a few articles about a child being killed by a dog in Springdale Arkansas on Nov 4. No mention of breed but someone on Facebook said a neighbor said it was a pit bull. But unconfirmed.
Last week there was also a heinous murder situation in several contiguous counties north of Washington County. I am guessing that the Washington County Sheriff’s Office perhaps has participated with its neighbor counties and the FBI so may be why WCSO has not shared more info w the media. Also, I think I remember reading here that when a child has been mauled by a family dog, sometimes it is more difficult to get more attack info than if the dog was a stranger.
You are right about less information often being released when it is a family dog. They don’t always want it out, they immediately hide any information on the dog that might be out there. Their friends often are not going to talk about it to protect pits, so they don’t contact the media or put out information on Facebook saying anything about a pit attacking a child.
Just today overheard two young teenagers loudly talking in my workplace.
One was showing the other pics on her phone: “I finally got to play with so-and-so’s dog. He’s so cute! He’s a pit/lab mix. But he scratched me up so bad.”
She pulls up her sleeves to show the other girl, who reacted with disgust.
“My cousin got bit by a pit/german shepherd mix and it was not good,” the other said.
“Yeah, German shepherds are rough,” said the scratched girl.
There’s a whole generation of kids growing up where it is normal to get hurt by dogs, and yet you never, ever say anything bad about a pit bull. They’re still so “cute,” even when they hurt you. I don’t see anything changing anytime soon.
In one of the video news reports it is mentioned that clothing and jewelry was scattered across the yard. We have seen from many previous reports of pitbull attacks that that is typical – those dogs tear off the clothing of their victims. They have an M.O. – these aren’t unique and unexpected incidents, they are repeated tragedies that play out just like others have done before.
The felony dog attack law they passed in 2006 was designed to protect the owners of these dogs. We wouldn’t want to inconvenience the owners of dogs that injure people now would we? “He’s never done anything like that before.”
This is infuriating.
I agree Rebecca. It is beyond infuriating that no one ever seems to be held accountable for what their choice of dog has done. If there were real consequences, like negligent manslaughter charges and jail time, perhaps, just MAYBE, some people would get a different breed than a pit bull.
Sad that Evangeline died its terrible but these are the same people who fought NOT to have pitbull bans.they’re saying you should not ban the pitbull you’re discriminating against the breed if these people didn’t demand to overturn the ban of pitbull then innocent people wouldn’t have to died a horrific death.
Thank you, Rev. Cheryl Ivy Green, for singing that great Gospel song “Jesus on the Mainline.” We sang that in the church of one of my tutoring students. What a joy for you to share how you felt about Miss Evangeline.
I share in your sorrow at how Miss Evangeline passed but look forward as you do to seeing her again in heaven.
There have been EIGHT deaths by dogs (mostly pits) in just the past 30 days. It’s unreal!
Ms. Brooks’ story, of course, was not on national news tonight. Instead, we got a “feel good” story about free adoptions of dogs (mostly pit/mixes) to traumatized veterans. They label them “service” dogs that are trained to help vets when they wake up from nightmares. If the war didn’t get them nightmares, some of these maulers will. It’s sickening. Recently, an Australian TV news commentator, Chris Kenny, just did a powerful opinion piece on dangerous dogs after a two-year-old was mauled to death at a motel. Google him if you get a chance…it’s well worth the watch.
If veterans are suffering from PTSD, the choice of dogs is critical. They need dogs like goldens and Labradors. Those breeds should be hard to trigger aggression in. An insecure veteran can trigger aggression in his/her own dog if it has aggressive tendencies.
A pit bull is WAY more likely to be the cause of PTSD than the cure for it.
Why does a PTSD sufferer need a dog that is behaviourally hard to manage to increase their symptoms? It’s lunacy. PTSD is caused by the inability to predict when something horrifying will happen and prevent it. Pitbull behaviour is inherently unpredictable and too often, horrifying. The 50%+ dog aggression rate alone, disqualifies them from being useful.
Plus, as we’ve all noticed here–pitbulls tend to target easy prey. Someone in the throes of flashbacks or thrashing with nightmares IS “easy prey” because they’re not focusing on their surroundings or the dog.
There are plenty of breeds of dogs that are either don’t respond much to human emotion because they’re less inclined to rely on humans for social cues (sled dog types, some working dogs) or are gentle enough that their response is to move away or sit quietly.
There’s a wealth of suitable dogs. Hounds, spaniels, labs, collies etc that are not nervous or dangerous.
Pitbulls are not among them.
Ironically, I think one factor makes pitbulls seem particularly attractive as PTSD service AND “nanny dogs:” The fact that they were bred to not display warning signs prior to an attack.
Where other breeds might growl or show obvious signs of agitation when they’re uncomfortable or frustrated, pitbulls might appear totally calm … and people misinterpret this as extreme tolerance and tranquility.
Since (luckily!!) MOST pitbulls won’t maul MOST people to death MOST of the time, tolerant and tranquil pitbulls are all MOST owners will ever see. And that’s really why they’re so dangerous: On the rare occasions they do attack, they more than make up for all those years of apparent calmness … but by then, it’s too late.
I saw this story on TV, too, of pitts being given to traumatized veterans to soothe their night time terrors. And all I could picture in my head was a veteran screaming and tossing in his sleep from a nightmare, to screaming and tossing from being attacked by his pitt that had gotten aroused by the veteran’s screaming and tossing.
I pictured the same scenario.They even demonstrated someone flailing in a bed. The fake service dog simply jumped on the bed and started licking and pawing the person. (It was such a stupid example.) We’ve seen lots of stories about pit bulls being “triggered” by seizures.Of course, the dog defenders blame the victim and use it as an excuse as to why the dog attacked.
I got so mad when my local news reported this tragic story. They waited till the very end of the story to tell that is was a Pitt Bull, and then blurred the beast’s image out in the picture like IT was the victim. I thought, “Oh my gosh, show the beast so others will know what danger looks like!”
They wanted to protect the identity of the dog? That’s so wrong. What is the purpose of news reporting – to obfuscate the facts or share them?
I realize this case involved an elderly adult, but I made this compilation of “pitbulls and babies” TikToks with a short writeup to share.
I will not a be a bit surprised is the only thing to come from this attack is a crack down on stray cats in the area..
I could see them sending the cops from house to house, shooting cats in back yards.
I won’t be surprised if this page gets pushback counting this as a dog bite related fatality.
“It is actually the cat’s fault. If the cat had not been there the dog never would have attacked.”