Fatal dog attack in West Memphis prompts investigation into property with 14 dogs

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:55 PM CST
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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (WMC) - West Memphis Animal Services is investigating a fatal dog attack, after they received news that a dog attack victim from Nov. 8 died from his injuries early last week.

According to West Memphis Police, the victim David Sullivan claimed he was attacked by multiple dogs near a property on South 19th Street around 1:00 a.m. that morning.

Two weeks later, on Nov. 16, another person, a woman, is attacked by dogs near the same property.

She is expected to recover.

“To have two bites in such close proximity is very concerning,” said Kerry Facello, Director of West Memphis Animal Services.

Facello said after learning of Sullivan’s passing, she and her team were instructed to seize all of the dogs on the property.

Fourteen dogs, four adults and ten puppies, have been impounded at the West Memphis Animal Shelter.

“The owner was cooperative, and everyone is well-settled in and taken care of here,” Facello said.

Now more investigation is taking place to determine where the attacks took place and which dogs were responsible.

Facello, who originally investigated the Nov. 8 attack but had trouble getting in touch with Sullivan, said placing of the attack is everything.

“If someone approaches or trespasses on that property and a dog bites, then it’s very difficult to blame that dog,” she said.

“They get out every now and then,” said resident Vernon Taylor.

Taylor was walking down South 19th Street when we went to the property. He said he has taken his motorbikes to the property to get fixed and that others have done the same with their cars.

In those times, Taylor said, the dogs have never bothered anyone.

“It must have been somebody who wasn’t from around here because the dogs know everybody that normally walks up and down here,” Taylor said. “It’s a tragic situation.”

Facello says there is a leash law in West Memphis once a dog is off a property it lives at, but there’s also a no-tether law.

“If a dog is contained within a fenced-in area and is on its property... A lot depends on whether or not someone is on a piece of property... or out in a common area in the middle of the street or a sidewalk,” Facello said.

The Animal Services Director said it has not yet been proven if the 14 dogs that have been impounded are the ones responsible for the two attacks.

Meanwhile, a man claiming to be the son of the property owner said that his dad’s business has been operating on South 19th Street for 18 years and has never had a problem with his dogs attacking people.

The man said he felt confident they will get the dogs back.

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