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43 thoughts on “2024 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Fatally Attacks Woman Riding Bicycle in Florence, South Carolina

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  1. This woman had a wonderful life. Very active and a great human at 71 years. To have it all taken away in one very violent act is so disturbing to me. Heartbreaking. This death will bother me for a very long time.
    I beg people to come to their senses and stop owning/buying/adopting/breeding/rescuing blood sport dogs. People over dogs.
    Signed, a very worried veterinarian

    • Agree 100%

      It’s so strange that in our area Mid-Atlantic States, there’s a push to not buy from puppy mills, is that just encourages the continuation of puppy mills.

      However nothing is ever mentioned about not acquiring pitbull puppies, and rarely is anything said about never breeding a pit bull / Bloodsport dog.

      Letting pregnant
      bloodsport dogs produce a litter and the public acquiring pitbull puppies are essential stages in the horrific vicious cycle that is the pit bull Bloodsport undog crisis.

      To me, that is proof that the Bloodsport undog USERS (owners, mongerers, pimps) do not actually care about the welfare of these bloodsport gladiators at all.

  2. Another inexcusable death by a pitbull. What I would like to know are the following: Was the person walking the dog strong enough to handle it? Not a child or elderly person. What kind of restraint was used on the dog? Collar, harness, head halter? What kind of leash? Was the dog being walked off leash?
    What size pitbull?

    I ask these questions because something went terribly wrong here. How can a dog being walked kill anyone?

    • Here in Los Angeles pit bulls are almost always walked by skinny women who absolutely could not handle them if they decided to bolt. It’s infuriating.

    • One pitbull can pull a 2kg car. *Nobody* is strong enough to restrain one that wants to pull especially these donut owners who think it’s “kind” to walk one *on a harness*.

      To walk a dog bred to pull (pay attention Husky owners, as well) takes brains and training, NOT muscle. To stop an apex predator with enough muscle to pull a car that is he11bent on reaching a target is impossible.

      Pitbull owners need to stop deluding themselves.

    • Bloodsport undogs in weight pulling contests can drag several tons of weight along a flat track.

      This tells a thinking person that an average Gladiator dog can drag a human of many times the dog’s weight along on an attack.

    • Pinch collars have a bad reputation, but are necessary for some dogs. They should put the ghost bike up where she was killed, on Brigadoone . What a name for a street where a woman was killed by a pit bull. Tax funded shelters must cull this breed instead of giving them away for free like our shelter just did, when they got too crowded. “Kill” shelters are necessary, but they have a bad rap, compared to private shelters which can pick and choose the cute ,cuddly small dogs.

  3. These dogs should not be in society. Period. It’s really that simple and I am deeply troubled by how many continue to defend these dogs and fight sensible BSL. How utterly tragic, absurdly unfair and totally preventable. She sounds like a wonderful lady.

  4. “After months of debating”- why the hell is there even a debate about this?
    Pits should not be pets, period; any more than alligators or tigers. They’re disproportionately prone to causing serious harm and their owners are awful at controlling them.

  5. And the owner may not face criminal charges. Murder has been legalized – if the weapon is on four legs.

    You know this dog’s owner was fully aware how the dog reacts to bicycles, right? Disgusting and unforgivable.

      • Pitbulls are bred to have high prey drive. This drive is important in getting them to kill. Prey drive involves chasing down prey, killing it, and eating it.
        This is why I don’t want to be around pitbulls.

    • “This dog’s owner was fully aware how the dog reacts to bicycles,” — We don’t know this yet. Latent explosive/indiscriminate aggression has been documented by pit bulls since the 1980s. This dangerous characteristic is why cities started regulating them back then (1989 — “While these traits, tendencies or abilities are not unique to Pit Bulls exclusively, Pit Bulls will have these instincts and phenotypical characteristics; most significantly, such characteristics can be latent and may appear without warning or provocation.”)

      • I’m sorry, I was speculating when I said the owner knows this dog wants to go after things such as bicyclists. I have seen too many stories of pitbull owners lying, “Diesel has never done anything like this before.” And too many accounts of the owners of attacking pitbulls fleeing the scene of attack, leaving the victim to deal with the damage. The accounts paint a picture of pitbull owners being recklessly irresponsible, putting others in danger, lying and omitting information to protect themselves and their dogs. I know no details about the particular owner of this particular dog that killed an innocent person.

        • Often the pit bull owner is not lying when they say the dog has never shown aggressive behavior before an attack. That’s partly what makes bully breed dogs so frightening, is that there is often no warning or clues that a possible lethal attack will happen. In this particular case, it sounds like the dog had been ok with bicycles, if the woman was walking the dog while the child rode it’s bicycle near by. The fact that these attacks happen with no warning is what is so distressing.

          • Right…I heard someone say, you only drown once. When the pitbull sets its sights on a kill, game on. I also like the analogy, if you were offered a bowl of 100 M&M’s and told just ONE was poison, would you eat the candy? People who get these dogs see lots of “nice” pitbulls, however, it just takes one to kill you. Worth the gamble? I think not.

  6. Poor lady to died by something she love to do.I can’t imagine the pain she felt dying by a beast of a’s sad no one can do simple everyday things like riding a bike.people get killed by doing normal thing by these ugly pitbull dogs.

  7. Pitbulls are bred to have high prey drive. This drive is important in getting them to kill. Prey drive involves chasing down prey, killing it, and eating it.
    This is why I don’t want to be around pitbulls.

  8. She was killed directly in front of her own home. It is her brick home in the background of the street signs picture.

  9. Is it just me or has the maulocaust shifted in to overdrive this summer?

    There have been days with multiple attacks.
    Keep in mind these are just the fatalities.
    I bet we have missed some horrible, life changing maulings. Those barley make the news anymore.

    I feel so bad for this latest victim.
    Imagine making to your 70s , still being healthy enough to enjoy cycling and getting taken down and mauled to death by a dog the walker could not control.

    Such a painful, pointless way to go.
    The worst part is odds are the owner wont even get a parking ticket for this “tragic accident”.

    • Dr. Duke, your comment is right on. We are seeing a tragic trend in deaths. While Colleen reports fatalities, I look at other sites that report attacks. The mauled children are the worst. These sweet little guys have life-limiting and life changing injuries. As someone who worked in the TV media for decades, I’m shocked and dismayed by the utter lack of coverage these attacks get. Their primary job is to keep the public informed. Instead, we’re fed pitbull pablum night after night. Some insipid feel-good story about giving FREE pitbulls to senior citizens. There were several pictures of frail, elderly people holding their free pits/mixes that the shelter could not unload on some other poor chump.

    • “Maulocaust”–I am so stealing that, Dr. Duke.

      These dogs are an absolute detriment to senior citizens who disproportionately make up their victims, along with children and the disabled.

      Where are the Gray Panthers when you need them?

      • I was inspired to come up with maulocaust after finding a pit named, I am not making this up, Adolph Pitler.

        I may not have even been the first to use the phrase but please feel free to spread the word.
        Sometimes a catchy phrase can help the message get out.

        I am glad that I was wrong about the owners getting off totally unpunished.

        A Misdemeanor for being directly responsible for a woman’s death seems like light punishment but it is better than nothing at all.

        Sadly if it goes to a jury I bet they walk.
        They will make a big deal out of the fact the leash broke and that the boyfriend came and pried the dog off of her.

        The main reason I think they will walk is dog owners on the jury.
        None of them like the idea of being held responsible for what their dog does and I doubt they would hold someone else responsible.

        Hopefully I am wrong again.

        I also hope the estate of the victim has gotten a good lawyer.
        Any fines from the criminal case will go to the government.
        The estate of the victim deserves compensation for their easily prevented loss.

  10. Pitbull traits – pitbulls frequently have broad necks which will easily allow pitbulls to slip out of collars.
    They are very powerful and able to pull hard on harnesses. They are tough to restrain.

    I’m going to give a bit of information about dog behavior. Herding breeds such as Collies, German shepherds, Border collies, etc. herd due to prey drive. In those cases, selection has been based on herding
    ability without the instinct to kill. Retrievers also have enough prey drive to retrieve but not to kill.

    Pitbulls are blood sport dogs that are bred to chase and kill.

  11. As a lover of dogs, I was the unfortunate witness to my small dog being attacked by a neighbor’s dog and killed. He was my heart. Later I also witnessed my 18 month old son jumped by a neighbor’s Springer Spaniel. He only had minor lacerations to his head and face but it could have been bad. My son would not go outside by himself for a long, long time. I have walked my small dogs in my neighborhood for almost 25 years (2 different dogs). When I see a person coming towards me with a big dog, I immediately turn around because I will not put myself or my beloved dog in harm’s way. I have stopped walking the long walk that I always enjoyed because several people in the neighborhood have had their big dogs get out and roam until someone calls animal control. I am realistic enough to understand that a dog’s nature, no matter how big or small is to be protective. But the bigger dog will win the battle, especially a pitbull. The firsthand stories I have heard and read are unbelievable. People if you love your pitbulls, keep them away from people and other dogs. Most of them are and can be killers. I am so sad for this lady’s family and friends. She did not deserve to die that way. I will be in more cautious when walking myself or my dog.

  12. This boils my blood. Hits close to home, I’m an avid walker and biker. Poor lady. A powerful dog is hard to contain even for a big strong man. I see small women and kids trying to leash hold big dogs all the time. Ridiculous.

    So, this is the routine each time I leave the house to walk or ride. “Bye honey, I’m going riding.” Says she, “don’t forget your dog medicine!”

    It’s a shame. It really is.

    • The most recent tv coverage of a gathering of neighbors states that neighbors had ongoing issues with this dog prior. They would not go on camera (afraid of the owners?) but stated the dog had a history of chasing walkers and cyclists before going full pit on Karen Nelson. Owners knew their dog was aggressive and scared people and did not care. Charges please.

  13. No sidewalks, which makes it a pedestrian-unfriendly neighborhood. The text article should have included the information at the end of the video. I hope these dog owners will pay. Their innocent neighbor paid with her life for their callous stupidity.

  14. Colleen, looks like you will have plenty to update on this death as the two owners have been arrested and charged with owning a dangerous animal.
    The female owner, Ashley Maclean, appears to have rented a house outside the neighborhood and chose to walk the dog there. Neighbors had experienced chasing behavior previously.

    I do not know how accountable these two people will be made to be for this horrendous death but I am very happy the police are taking this step towards some justice for Karen Nelson.

    • Good to know. We located her last night on some social media channels, but she had already deactivated her Facebook account. Word on the ground is the dog was a foster too. So, we have been looking into that.

  15. This mother had that killing machine in the house with her child! I hope the authorities will yank the other dogs out of the house if they’re pits or pit mixes. This asinine “foster” of dangerous dogs has got to stop. They have a program in our county urging people to take full-grown pitbulls (with no known history) into their home, often with children present. I’m so glad this couple is being held accountable. This couple got to see up close and personal the hell these dogs are known for. It sounds like the child might have witnessed Karen Nelson’s death, too.

    • Same thing is happening here in Pima County, Arizona. Quoting from a post on Nextdoor:

      Currently, we have 702 animals in our shelter, with dog kennels at critical capacity and cat kennels approaching capacity.

      “Large impounds of sick animals place incredible strain on shelter resources, including both the space and time it takes to care for these animals,” said Monica Dangler, PACC’s director. “With both the shelter’s cat and dog kennels already full or near full, we need the community’s help to find homes for the pets in our shelter as soon as possible to free up resources for the newly arrived pets.”

      Note the use of language. “Newly arrived pets” when they should be saying “dogs.” And, guess what: Most of those dogs are the ones covered on this website.

  16. I live in Florence, SC and knew Karen Nelson- she was my son’s music teacher in elementary school. Like Karen, I’m an avid cyclist and have been charged-at by a large pit bull. Luckily, the owner called him off and the dog obeyed. Still, I feel like I’m very lucky to have not been mauled. I’ve now purchased a pistol to take with me on bike rides after being advised that mace will not stop a pit bull. I’m sorry that it has come to this! I intend to go before the City Council and propose new ordinances that will require pit bull owners to register their dogs, spay & neuter their dogs, microchip their dogs, and buy insurance for their dogs. Also, pit bulls should be muzzled when outside (I’d prefer them to wear a harness rather than a collar, but I can hear the howls of protest already). The breeding of pit bulls (and XL Bully Dogs in the UK) is prohibited and should be prohibited here too. The UK has implemented a very good method to faze-out dangerous breeds and I will suggest that such measures serve as a model for us. Pit bulls are absolutely everywhere in Florence- the shelter is overflowing with them and they regularly run wild in the streets. We have 5 pit bulls that live near my house and all of them are potential threats to children, walkers, and bike riders. If city legislators don’t respond to my common sense suggestions to control this breed after the heinous death of Mrs. Nelson, I don’t know what motivation they will need in order to protect the public from these very dangerous dogs.

  17. I’ve been documenting Pit attacks for three years so you’d think I would be unlikely to ever suffer one right? WRONG.

    The neighbor’s pitbull attacked my 15-year-old Chow mix in our cul-de-sac last week. The Pit is a female and a senior, though not as old as my boy. I walk my boy around our cul-de-sac and down our street every evening. This evening we took our walk a little early, and encountered my neighbor in the cul-de-sac. He usually lets his three dogs run around the cul-de-sac while he sits outside with them. So my dog has greeted his dogs probably a hundred times over the past few years while on our walks.

    His dogs weren’t on leashes, mine was. The neighbor and I were talking and his Pit started sniffing at my dog’s face and then started biting at it and knocked him over onto the concrete. Then her packmate (1/2 boxer, 1/2 pit I think) started helping her by biting at his side.

    It lasted about 10 seconds. Just as I was bending down to pull her back legs out from under her he was able to pull her off and then the other dog quit too. My boy and I limped/ran off.

    When we got home I noticed his mouth was swollen and it looked like his canine tooth was sticking out sideways. X-rays confirmed the tooth was fine but they stitched up a gash on the backside of the tooth.

    He’s extremely sore. He’s too old to have to deal with this much added pain. Hopefully I can prevent infection. He’s a pretty difficult dog to give pills to, so hopefully the scant few pills I can trick him into eating/grind up and put in his food will be enough.

    Neighbor has offered to pay the Vet bills.

    This is just so tough because I KNEW the risk and put him in this situation anyway. I always felt that; this neighbor has great control over his dogs, they’re extremely well socialized, and she may only be like 75% Pit. I never should have taken him near that dog.

    I also realized that, for all the planning I did, I kind of froze up when the attack happened. I wasted 10 seconds waiting for the owner to pull his dog off, when I should have been acting.

    This also reminded me that: A monster is a monster is a monster. There is no one singular monster that isn’t a monster.

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