By Zena Henry
A 51-year- old woman was yesterday mauled to death by two pit bulls that were supposed to secure the premises where she resided.
Dead is Joan Carter of Lot 232 Berbice Street, Block N, Lamaha Springs.
Carter’s body was discovered just after noon by her brother-in-law, Leslie Thomside, who had returned home from work to have lunch. The woman was found kneeling at the bottom step of the apartment that was built for her to stay in.
Carter had several huge gashes to the head, a bite mark to the throat and several about the body. No one was at home when the animals attacked, and the neighbours are said to have heard nothing.
Thomside is married to one of the deceased woman’s sisters, Jennifer Thomside. Another sister, Maria Sue, told this publication that Carter had been living with the family some three months now. She explained that Carter has mental complications, so her older sister (Jennifer) decided to build a separate, small accommodation aback of the main house for her.
She said the dogs may not have been too acquainted with the woman.
Sue stated, however, that usually when the family is at home, the dogs would be loose and Ms. Carter would move about the premises, conducting her chores without harassment from the animals. She believes that yesterday, her sister may have ventured outside sweeping the yard as she normally did, when the dogs attacked.
Mrs. Thomside left the country on Monday and Mr. Thomside went out to work, leaving only the animals and the woman on the premises. Sue explained that by the looks of it, her sister was desperately trying to get back into the house during the attack, since she was found on her knees leaned forward on the two steps which lead to her small flat.
This newspaper was told that when Mr. Thomside arrived home for lunch, the dogs greeted him at the gate, but he noticed that their faces and most of their heads were covered in blood. His initial thought was that another dog had gotten into the yard and there had been a fight.
However, as he made his way to the back of his property, that is when he saw his sister-in-law in a kneeling position and apparently lifeless on the stairs. The police and relatives were then alerted.
When Kaieteur News visited the home, the entrance to the woman’s small dwelling had bloody marks near the lower areas of the door and on the concrete steps. The dogs had already been locked up in their kennels and were for the most part very calm. The police were also taken to task in taking a photo of the animals.
Officers, onlookers and relatives were quick to exit the yard when they heard that the dogs would be released for the photo. After brief hesitation, the animals left their pens and were barking menacingly at those looking in from the road.
Mr. Thomside was visibly distressed by the day’s event. He told this publication that he had the dogs some five years and would have never envisaged such a tragedy. Now, as is the case in many such incidents, he is strongly contemplating putting the animals down.
Thomside was later taken into police custody. A file is being prepared to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
This latest pit bull-related death is sure to spark further discussion and argument over the need for legal regulation on the ownership of the ferocious animals. The pit bull breed of dogs is usually used for security and protection reasons. It is also a thriving business, where persons rear the animals for profit and in some cases, for fighting.
However, there is no decisive regulation on the ownership of pit bulls. Neither is there a code of conduct or any related information that allows for guidelines in the ownership of the animal which is slowly arising as a threat to human life.
In recent times there have been several attacks by pit bulls and in some cases the animals had to be put to death in order to free their victims. Several citizens have advocated for legal regulation of the animals, while others have called for them to be completely banned.
As a result of pit bull attacks in Trinidad and Tobago, the country earlier this year passed stiff laws on the ownership of pit bulls and stiffer penalties relating to adherence of the law.
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