The Law Blog of Oklahoma

Oklahoma City Woman Dies in Mauling

Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2017

An elderly woman walking her dog in her northwest Oklahoma City neighborhood was mauled to death by two large dogs roaming loose in the streets.

Police responded to a witness's call about the dog attack, but when they arrived, they were unable to approach the woman to help because of the ferocity of the attack. Police shot and killed one dog, then hit the other with a police car in order to stop the mauling.

By that time, it was too late. Cecille Short, an 82-year-old grandmother, was dead.

Police describe the two dogs as pit bull mixes, and they say that the larger dog was a "designer breed" known as an XXL pit bull or an "American Bully." The larger dog weighed approximately 100 pounds. The smaller dog, which survived being struck by the car and was taken to a local veterinarian and held for "evidentiary purposes," weighs approximately 80 to 90 pounds.

By comparison, the average papillon, the breed of small dog Cecille Short was walking, weighs 7-10 pounds.

Neighbors say the two pit bulls roaming the neighborhood had been loose on multiple occasions before. One says that they tried to attack her dog once before. Another says that he called police just days before the fatal mauling to report that the dogs were chasing children in the neighborhood. Animal Welfare confirms that they have received multiple calls about the dogs in question, and that when they were called to the area about the dogs reportedly chasing children, they were unable to locate the animals when they arrived.

Police say the dogs chewed through a hole in the fence, and that their owner was not at home at the time of the attack. In fact, they say, he was out of town. Several days after the attack, police had not yet spoken with the dogs' owner. They said they were making arrangements to speak with him and his attorney, whom he retained after the attack.

Yesterday, just four days after the fatal mauling, and the second day of Dog Bite Prevention Week, a 77-year-old Edmond woman was knocked to the ground by two boxers roaming loose in her neighborhood. Passersby saw her lying on the ground screaming with the two dogs standing on top of her and growling, and they were able to hold the dogs at bay until Animal Welfare arrived. They say no one was bitten in the incident. Witnesses report that the woman was armed, but was not able to reach her gun in time to defend herself. 

As of this writing, the owner of the dogs involved in the fatal mauling in northwest Oklahoma City has not been charged. However, under state law, he faces a charge of second degree murder in Short's death:

If the owner of a mischievous animal, knowing its propensities, wilfully suffers it to go at large, or keeps it without ordinary care, and such animal, while so at large or not confined, kills any human being who has taken all the precautions which the circumstances permitted, to avoid such animal, the owner is deemed guilty of manslaughter in the second degree. (21 O.S.  ยง 717)

According to Oklahoma law, second degree manslaughter is punishable by 2 to 4 years in prison.



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