TOP SECRET ANIMAL ATTACK FILES
from The New York Times, AP
|HOME||Dog Owner Charged
By The Associated Press
Filed at 7:39 a.m. EST
December 10, 1999
WINNSBORO, S.C. (AP) -- Blood still stains the grass where John Mickle was dragged to the ground and fatally mauled by two pit bull dogs.
Mickle, 45, was bitten more than 1,000 times and his windpipe crushed during Saturday's attack, Coroner Joe Silvia said.
The dogs' owner, Frank Speagle, 22, was charged with involuntary manslaughter Thursday. The charge means authorities think Speagle should have known his dogs were potentially dangerous.
The county does not require dogs to be leashed or fenced in. Mickle's body was found about 200 yards from Speagle's house.
The dogs had been loose in Speagle's yard at the time of the attack, and Speagle also was charged with failing to keep a dangerous animal restrained. He faces up to 11 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
In November, a 74-year-old man said the dogs bit him on the calf and thigh before he was able to get away by swinging his belt at them, sheriff's Maj. Keith Lewis said. The man told the dogs' owner, but never told authorities, Lewis said.
Authorities also said the animals had used their teeth to flatten the tires of at least one car.
No one at Speagle's house would comment Thursday.
Speagle said he wanted the dogs destroyed, Fairfield County Sheriff Herman Young said. Deputies also were investigating whether the pit bills had been used in dogfights.
Mickle's death was the 11th fatal dog attack in the nation this year, said Leslie Sinclair of the Humane Society of the United States.
Most attacks involve children or the elderly. ``It's very rare to have a middle-aged adult attacked like this,'' Sinclair said.
In 1997, a Kansas woman was convicted of unintentional murder after her Rottweilers killed an 11-year-old boy. Sinclair knew of at least three other cases since 1987 where pet owners were convicted of criminal charges for a pet's actions.
Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company