Special Report filed by AAF Animal Attack Files Special Report
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Dog mauls man to death in Franklin County
By Valerie K. Schremp Of the Post-Dispatch

October 27, 2000

A 41-year-old St. Clair man was mauled to death this week by his roommate's pet chow, suffering wounds so severe that investigators called their police chief back from a conference, thinking they had a murder on their hands.

A roommate found Randy P. Harris, of 225 Cottage Street in St. Clair in Franklin County, barely alive in the front doorway of their home Wednesday evening.

He had puncture wounds on his forehead that looked like they came from gunshots. His leg had been dislocated. Blood gushed from wounds on his head, arm, and neck, and police found blood in several rooms in the house.

The chow, named Buster, was running loose inside. The roommate had locked Buster in a bedroom when she left about two hours before. After calling police, she locked Buster in a kennel outside, not suspecting he was the perpetrator.

Medics airlifted Harris to St. John's Mercy Medical Center in Creve Coeur, where he died a little over an hour after being found. Hospital officials told the medical examiner's office that the man had shotgun wounds. But a preliminary autopsy showed they were dog bites, and that Harris' carotid artery, one of the arteries that runs up the neck and supplies blood to the head, had been partially severed.

Later that night, St. Clair police put two and two together when they found blood on Buster. A veterinarian euthanized the dog with the roommate's approval.

The roommate told police she wasn't sure what prompted the struggle between the 50-pound dog and the five foot six inch, 130-pound man.

"She said that they lived together for two years and this guy knew the dog, and she said he had fed the dog before but it had been aggressive towards him at times," said St. Clair Police Chief Tom Yoder.

"Everyone's just amazed."

© 2000 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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