Justice will not be served for one Dallas veteran who was mauled to death by dogs in May. Forensic tests revealed the seven dogs that were euthanized because they were suspected of attacking her were likely not responsible for her injuries.
Antoinette Brown, 52, was mauled by a pack of wild dogs after walking near a vacant lot in May, according to The Associated Press. Brown died a week later from her injuries, and seven dogs from the neighborhood were seized and euthanized in relation to her death.
Before the dogs’ owner could be charged with a felony, forensic analyses released Oct. 31 revealed the dogs seized and euthanized were not responsible for attacking Brown, the New York Daily News reports.
"We went to great, extreme lengths, beyond what we would normally do for anything, to see if we had DNA evidence that would link the animals from Spring Avenue to Ms. Brown, and we were unable to make that link," Dallas Police Deputy Chief Rob Sherwin said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News.
At the time of the incident, witness Jackie Humphrey told KDFW she heard Brown’s cries for help from the vacant lot and called 911. Brown’s family and others say they saw a pack of dog’s bite Brown all over her body and tear off chunks of her flesh. The homeless veteran had more than 100 bite wounds on her.
“One of her legs looked like a shark had took a bite out of it.” Humphrey told KDFW.
Animal control officers took seven dogs from a nearby home with a history of loose animals, alleging to have been called to the home for loose dog reports 10 times between July 2013 and August 2014. Before Brown’s death, animal control officers had confiscated dogs from the owner on three separate occasions. The owner voluntarily gave the dogs up each time.
The agency “humanely euthanized” the seven dogs seized after investigators gathered DNA for testing in the case of Brown’s death, according to the New York Daily News.
The evidence was sent to the Southwest Institute of Forensic Science and a University of California, Davis veterinary forensic lab, but neither test established a DNA link between Brown and the dogs, police said.
Brown’s family has expressed distress that forensic tests were unable to find conclusive results, according to KHOU, speculating that rain on the day of the attack could have affected DNA collection.
Police said they were closing the case due to a lack of evidence.
“The fact they can’t link DNA is frustrating, so frustrating, for the family.” Brown’s daughter Matisha Ward said.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings vowed to resolve South Dallas’ loose dog crisis after the attack in May, promising to fill five staff vacancies in Animal Services immediately and pick up all strays.
“The priority has not been high enough, OK, obviously,” Rawlings said. “Progress is great, but we were in a deep hole and we have a long ways to go.”