canine attack
© Angela Antunes / CC by 2.0
On July 21 Latoya Cole and her family members were to celebrate a special occasion, but tragedy struck in the wee hours of the morning, casting a dark shadow on a day that would have otherwise been filled with congratulatory smiles and well wishes.

As Cole's older sister Marsha prepared to walk down the aisle, news came that their 66-year-old father, Whittington, had been rushed to Spanish Town Hospital in St Catherine. He had been ripped apart by at least four pit bulls and Rottweilers and was bleeding profusely. Hours later, he died.

Cole, who spoke with the Jamaica Observer yesterday, said Whittington often walked when he was unable to sleep. He was doing this when the dogs attacked him.

"At 12:45 am he was walking in the community of Hampton Green. I can only assume that he was walking back home or walking out of the scheme when dogs attacked him. The doctors told me he said four dogs attacked him," Cole said.

The attack, she said, occurred at the intersection of Grant's Crescent and Locksley Avenue.

She said that while her father was apparently wrestling with the vicious canines, he received a bite on his right arm's main artery, causing him to lose blood rapidly.

"They bit his right wrist. They bit his other arm close to his elbow. They bit his left foot down to his ankle. Both his ears were bitten off. The middle part of his scalp was torn off completely. You could see where he was wrestling with them," the woman said followed by a heavy sigh.

She said she received a call at 1:48 am from good Samaritans, who broke up the attack, informing her that her father was at the hospital.

"I rushed to the hospital. They were trying to stop the bleeding. I could hear when they were testing him, asking him if he could feel anything. I was there for about three hours waiting for them to tell me what was going to be done. They told me I had to sign a consent form for them to give him blood.

"He was there undergoing excruciating pain because he was moaning non-stop. While he was there moaning I remember the doctor came back to me and said 'Let me show you the pictures.' When I looked at them I could not believe what I was looking at. You could tell those were some big dogs that attacked him," Cole shared.

She said shortly after 4:00 am her father was taken into surgery because doctors could not control the bleeding despite doing all they could.

"They told me to go home. I did so, but by 5:11 am I got a call to come back to the hospital. From I got that call I knew that he passed. When I went in I was being told the medical terms, and then they told me 'Your dad passed'. I could not believe it.

"The doctor told me my father was losing a lot of blood. He went into shock and from the shock he died. When I read the doctor's report I get to understand that because of the [damage to the] main artery he suffered heart failure. The attack from the dogs caused his pressure to go up. My father had no illness other than he's epileptic. That's it," she stated.

She said that a statement was given to the police; however, it was misinterpreted and the cops visited the Homestead community instead.

"I don't get it. They didn't come into the area until a week after the incident. My father had passed one week and a couple days when they came in the area on Emancipation Day investigating. They were looking for whose dogs to take pictures, but you know rain fell the week and washed away the blood. I don't think they got any good evidence. However, they said they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. This is two to three weeks now and nothing," the woman said.

The Observer contacted commanding officer in charge of the St Catherine North Police Division Beau Rigaby, who said investigations are ongoing.

"We have no update so far. The investigation is still continuing. There are things that are going to have a timely process. The report is being dealt with. As far as testing the dogs and the results, I am not privy to the results. I am sure, however, that an advance level of investigation is being done," Rigaby said.

Yesterday, the Observer visited the area and spoke to the man believed to be the owner of the dogs who attacked Whittington, but he denied his dogs' involvement.

According to the man, who will not be identified, at the time he was informed about the incident his dogs were inside his yard.

"A me use mi pickup and go assist him and take him to the hospital. Mi dogs did let out in the yard, but dem can't go over the fence. Last night I heard a commotion out here and it was about 10 dogs, so it could be any of them," he said.

The man told the Observer that on the morning of the incident there was no blood on his dogs.

"Mi beg mi landlord check for blood cause mi leave for work 3:00 am and him seh him nuh see nuh blood," he said, adding that he has five dogs: three pit bulls, a hybrid Rottweiler and a Shih Tzu.

Asked if he was questioned by the police or if his dogs were tested, the man replied 'No'.

The man pointed to other houses with pit bulls, but checks made by the Observer revealed that only one other man had a dog. That dog is a Rottweiler, which the owner said was definitely not involved in the attack.