Anthony Bastardi, 67, was killed Monday while dog sitting for his daughter in Johnston County.
Dogs Had Bitten Earlier
Wilson's Mills, NC - One day before the July 4th holiday, a 67-year old man was killed by a pair of dogs while dog sitting them. The attack occurred around 12:40 pm in the 100 block of Eddleston Court, the Johnston County Sheriff's Office said. When Wilson's Mills police arrived at the scene, both dogs were still actively attacking the man. The responding officer shot and killed both dogs. The dogs, a pet cane corso and a bull terrier, belong to the victim's daughter and son-in-law.
WRLA-TV reports the responding officer found Anthony Gerard Bastardi on the ground in the front yard of the home, where the attack occurred, with "one of the dogs over his head." Bastardi had gone to check on the dogs while the couple was out of town. WTVD reports the cane corso was at least 80 pounds and the bull terrier around 50 pounds. Thus, it was not a mini-bull terrier, but a standard size, which has no height or weight limits, according to the UKC Breed Standard.
According to the JoCo Report, the couple had hired a veterinary hospital employee to care for the dogs while they were out of town. While at the home, the female veterinary hospital employee let both dogs into the fenced-in backyard. That's when the cane corso bit her on the leg. She then retreated back inside the home to safety and notified the pet owners. The family then contacted Bastardi, who was familiar with both dogs, asking for his help. Bastardi arrived at about 12:30 pm.
While in the home alone, Bastardi was attacked by the dogs inside the home. The vicious attack continued after Bastardi exited the front door of the home on Eddleston Court. According to investigators, Bastardi was already dead in the front yard by the time they arrived at 12:40 pm. The timeframe, at least at this stage, indicates that Bastardi was immediately, and fatally, attacked by the pair of dogs just after Bastardi told the hospital employee that it was okay for her to leave.
Pet Sitting Deaths
This man's death marks the fifth fatal attack of a dog sitter this year. In May, Rita Vasquez, 58, was killed while dog sitting her daughter's pit bull-mix in Texas. Also in May, Marion County Deputy Tamieka White, 46, was killed while dog sitting three pit bulls for a friend in Indiana. In April, Dezmond Trawick, 22, was killed while dog sitting four pit bulls for his brother in Minnesota. In March, Kristen Potter, 38, was killed by two great danes she was dog sitting in Pennsylvania.
In each of these cases, the victims were adults, ages 22 to 67-years old. Four of the five deaths involved the dog sitter caring for multiple large dogs at the time. Three of the five deaths involved pit bulls. Bastardi's death also marks another fatal dog mauling in Johnston County, North Carolina since 2021. During the 2021 pandemic year, a pair of family rottweilers killed a baby in Willow Spring, whose parents worked for Wake County law enforcement and Johnston County EMS.
05/10/23: 2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Marion County Deputy Killed by Violent Dog While Dog Sitting
04/15/23: 2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Man, 22, Killed by Brother's Four Pit Bulls While Dog Sitting...
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.