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Manslaughter Charge Justified for Woman Whose Bullmastiff Killed Joan Kappen, 75, Says Judge

A woman whose dog attacked and killed a 75-year-old woman in Hot Springs Village, Ark., has been charged with manslaughter. She and a second woman, who allegedly let the dog out, have both been charged with harboring a vicious dog.

Chief of Police Gary Adams said Joan Kappen, 75, was out walking in Hot Springs Village around 7:40 a.m. on Thursday, November 21. She was walking by a home on Ornado Lane when a Bullmastiff belonging to Brande Michelle Coy, 50, ran out, attacked and killed her.

"She could not have been a better person to know and I don't know how I'm going to get over it," Kappen said.

He told reporters he and Joan had been married for eleven years.

"We've walked the streets for about six years and knew people down there," he said.

Chief Adams said the dog owner wasn't home at the time, but the other woman at the house, Emily Ann Coy, 25, had let the animal out of the house.

She heard the screams of Ms. Kappen and ran out and tried to pull the dog away from the victim. However, she was unable to stop the attack, so she went inside to call for help, according to the report.

Joan Kappen was pronounced dead at Mercy Hospital Hot Springs.

"I was surprised. My wife wasn't even dead five minutes (and) I heard that they (dog owner) already had lawyers" Hans Kappen told THV-11. "Not one word of condolence for my wife. What is this country coming to?"

According to a news release from the Saline County prosecutor’s office, Brande Coy, 50, and Emily Coy, 25, will be charged with the mauling death of Joan Kappen.

Brande Coy will be charged with manslaughter, a felony, as well as an unlawful dog attack. Both she and Emily Coy will be charged with harboring a vicious animal.

The manslaughter charge carries with it a punishment of up to 10 years in prison, according to the release.

“Circuit Judge Bobby McCallister found probable cause for all counts on both warrants,” it read.

Saline County Prosecutor Ken Casady said the affidavits have been filed in the case, though neither woman has been taken into custody. The release added that the prosecuting attorney's office expects both women to turn themselves in at the Saline County jail.

Hot Springs Village is a Property Owner's Association community with no ordinances for dogs.

Chief Adams told The Sentinel-Record that the dog was picked up by animal control and later euthanized.

Sources Arkansas Online, (2), The Republic, KARK-TV


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