On Monday evening, a woman was mutilated and killed by a family pit bull in Toledo, Ohio.
Pit Bull Kills Woman
Toledo, OH - On Monday, a woman died after being attacked by a family pit bull. The attack occurred at a home in the 800 block of Wright Avenue, just before 6:00 pm. Toledo police and fire crews found 58-year old Bonnie Varnes severely mutilated and unconscious in the backyard of her home. Varnes was transported to the University of Toledo Medical Center, where she later died. A Toledo police detective at the scene told WTOL News the dog appeared to belong to the victim.
Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett, the Lucas County coroner, confirmed that a woman had been killed by a pit bull but did not have additional details, reports the Toledo Blade. Online records show that Varnes and her daughter both lived at the home. Social media pages showed that each owned a female brown and white pit bull. Varnes owned “Peaches” and her daughter, Amelia, owned a similar appearing pit bull, “Amenia.” Initially it was unclear which pit bull mauled and killed Varnes.
An update from The Blade states the attacking dog was registered to the victim’s daughter, who also lives at the home, police spokesman Officer Andrew Dlugosielski confirmed. Thus, Amenia appears to be the fatal attacker. Amelia Varnes, 30-years old, declined to comment to reporters. The circumstances of the attack remain unclear, police said. The whereabouts of Peaches during the attack are also unclear. Social media posts indicate that Peaches is at least 10 years old.
Attack Captured on Video
A report from McClatchy National states the deadly attack was captured on video and confirms that Amenia was the attacker. Video footage obtained by the Toledo Police Department showed Varnes taking Amenia outside the back door on a leash. As she did, the dog pulled her down and began to attack. A neighbor spotted her body in the yard as the dog ran around her, states a police incident report. The neighbor called Amelia first then called 911 and went over to Varnes’ home.
Arriving officers found Varnes lying face down in her backyard. Officers spoke to Amelia, who said that she returned home after receiving a call from her neighbor. When she arrived, she found her mother covered in blood in their yard. She told police her dog, Amenia, was also covered in blood, according to the report. She locked Amenia in the garage. She put her other pit bull, “Poochie,” in a bedroom. The daughter described Amenia as being vicious “at times,” states the news article.
The last time Amelia saw her mother alive was around 8:30 am on the day of the fatal attack, according to police. Varnes had worked for Washington Local Schools as a bus driver for over three decades. In a statement to WTVG, the company said, “Bonnie worked for WLS for over 30 years and was a deeply loved, valued member of our transportation team. We are devastated by this loss.” The animal is currently in the custody of Lucas County Canine Care and Control.
Toledo Pit Bull Fatalities
During the 2021 pandemic, two adults were killed by pit bulls in Toledo less than a month apart. Emily Kahl, 31, was killed by her roommate’s pit bull on July 18 after the dog clamped onto her neck. Her roommate claimed the dog was only “trying to save her.” On August 12, Javon Stokes, 26, was fatally bitten in the neck by a pit bull while visiting the dog owner’s home on Potter Street. The co-owner of that pit bull also claimed the dog was “trying to help Stokes and wake him up.”
08/13/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: 26-Year Old Man Killed by Pit Bull During Seizure in East Toledo
07/22/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: 31-Year Old Woman Fatally Bitten in the Neck by Pit Bull in Ohio
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.