A Texas woman was attacked and killed by several dogs—but the owner of the property likely won’t be charged.
The City of Austin said deputies were dispatched to a residence after a caretaker called 911 after going to the property to feed dogs. They discovered the body of Erin McCleskey, 36, who “had obviously been attacked by several dogs,” the office said.
As a result, “Animal Protection Officers impounded six dogs from the property” and officers also found 14 young puppies were confined on the property, the city said.
The dogs were of a Lab/Great Pyrenees mix while two of the dogs appear to be a husky/Australian cattle dog mix. Six of the adult dogs found on the property will be held in rabies quarantine at the Austin Animal Center, the city said.
McCleskey had been visiting the residence on a business related matter before she entered the front gate of the property, where she was attacked by the dogs.
Officials recovered her body and it was taken to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office where an investigation into the cause of death has begun.
Sheriff’s office spokesman Roger Wade said no charges will likely be filed.
“If the homeowner’s not there and doesn’t sic the dogs on them, I don’t know what charges would be filed,” he told the Austin Statesman.
Casey Cox, chief operating officer of EZ Messenger, said the woman was an independent contractor who was serving papers for the company at the time. The woman was the daughter of his business partner, so “it’s definitely hit home for us,” he said. Process servers are trained in situational awareness and are trained in dealing with violent animals, but it’s unclear if she had a weapon on her at the time.
In most instances, dog owners are financially liable for personal injury or property damage their pets cause. “Most American states make dog owners liable for all dog bites when a person is bitten, based simply on owning the dog that did the biting,” says lawyer Kenneth M. Phillips on his website.