Melissa Wolke was charged in January 2020 with murder after allegedly letting her pit bull attack a man.
Melissa Wolke was charged in January 2020 with murder after allegedly letting her pit bull attack a man.
Police charged a woman late Friday with murder after she allegedly let her pit bull attack a man who died.

Kentucky State Police identified the victim as Donald W. Abner, 55, of Richmond.

Detective James Royal charged Melissa D. Wolke, 38, of Mount Vernon with murder in the case, according to a news release issued late Friday.

Before state police filed the murder charge, the Rockcastle County Sheriff's Office had charged Wolke with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, public intoxication and menacing, according to a citation filed in court.

Kirk Mays, an officer with the sheriff's office, said in the citation that police received a call about Wolke fighting with a man and letting a pit bull attack him at a home at Conway, off U.S. 25 north of Mount Vernon.

Mays said when he arrived to investigate about 3:30 a.m., he saw Wolke in the back yard of the house, sitting on top of a man and punching him in the face while the dog was attacking the man.

Police yelled at Wolke to get off the man and take control of the animal, but she instead started yelling and cursing at police, according to the citation.

Wolke told the officers she was "going to beat their ass too," Mays said in the citation.

The man on the ground wasn't moving, Mays said.

Mays said after Wolke refused to comply with demands to take control of the dog, he got in the back of a pickup truck and had the owner drive him closer to the victim and shot Wolke and the dog with his Taser.

Wolke then let go of the dog, which ran around the house.

When it came back it ran toward an officer in an aggressive manner and police were forced to shoot it, according to the citation.

Mays said that when he tried to arrest Wolke, she fought with police before they got her under control.

Wolke smelled strongly of alcohol and had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes, police said in the citation.

Police told WKYT it appeared Abner had bite marks around his neck and face.

State police had said in a news release that when police arrived at the scene,

they "encountered a very aggressive dog" that was "in the immediate area of a suspected victim."

Authorities couldn't try to help the victim because of the dog, according to the release.

The dog was shot by the trooper "due to the immediate threat that it posed to officers and the community," state police said.

State police said the cause of death has not been determined, and an autopsy has been scheduled for Saturday in Frankfort.

It's not clear what led to the apparent attack. A veterinarian will test the dead pit bull for rabies, according to WKYT.

A 2019 report from showed pit bulls were attributed to 66 percent of dog bite fatalities from 2005 to 2017. Pit bulls were responsible for 311 of the 471 deaths, the report showed.