Police say that Georgia college student, Rebecca Carey, 23, who was involved in animal rescue activity for nearly a decade, was attacked and killed by a dog under her care over the weekend.
Fox News reports police say Carey was killed at her Decatur home.
According to her family, she had worked with dogs since she was a young teenager. She had five dogs in her care at the time of her death. The dogs included a pit bull she had owned for six years, a boxer mix and a large Spanish breed called a Presa. According to Fox News, she was also dogsitting a Presa for a friend.
Carey's body was discovered on Sunday afternoon after she failed to show up for work at Alpharetta's Loving Hands Animal Clinic.
The Daily Mail reports that her friend Jackie Cira, whose Presa Carey was dogsitting, found her body.
WSBTV.com reports Cira described the scene: "There was a lot of blood. And when I first got there, it looked like she had fallen and hit her head."
Police initially thought it was a case of homicide but the DeKalb County medical examiner ruled that Carey's death resulted from dog bites.
According to the police, the cause of Carey's death was a neck and upper torso injuries "consistent with dog bites."
Fox News reports the dogs Carey was caring for were euthanized on Wednesday, even though it was unclear which of the dogs was responsible. DeKalb County police spokeswoman Mekka Parish, said the dogs were euthanized as ordered by the DeKalb County Animal Control authorities, with the consent of Carey's parents.
Carey's neighbor Monica Cofer, said the dogs never showed signs of aggression in the past. She said: “They never showed any type of aggression. Even if one got loose, you could tell them to go back to their yard and they’d go back.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Cira said Carey would have been devastated to learn the dogs were euthanized. She argued that the police should have tried to determine which dog was responsible for the attack. She said: 'We're talking about three very different breeds weighing around 80 pounds, 55 pounds and 15 pounds."
Cira said Carey was a skilled dog handler who was experienced with dealing with aggressive animals. AJC reports she said: "If she found out it was a dangerous dog, they were gone. She felt strongly that dangerous dogs had no business being in society where they could attack a child or something." Cira, according to the AJC, speculated that perhaps Carey had taken a fall after she attempted to break up a dog fight.
WSBTV.com reports Tim Medlin, interim director of DeKalb Animal Control, said it was not possible to tell which animal killed Carey. He said public safety was the first concern of animal control officials: "We didn’t know which dog did which. I can’t be wrong. Not just myself, no one can be wrong in putting out a dog that possibly had to do with these type of injuries. I will not put another person at that kind of risk."
Fox News reports Medlin said Carey' death was the county's first fatal dog bite. He justified the decision to euthanize the dogs: “I don’t know these dogs, but I know what they did. And that’s how we made our judgment.”
The Daily Mail reports that in a similar case, a 44-year-old man was killed by his pet pitbull. His body was found by his wife with the dog still on top of him gnawing at his neck.
According to Carey's parents, Greg and Ellen Carey, in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Since the second grade when she read the book 'Throw Away Pets,' she vowed to be a voice for all animals. Upon placing her first abandoned animal in a permanent loving home in 2003, she volunteered countless hours with rescue networks and animal shelters. There she did what she loved the most: rescuing animals from untenable situations to find them safe, loving homes."
The Examiner reports that on Friday, a fund was set up to honor Carey.