A dog owner is facing manslaughter charges after their animals killed a public health worker who was responding to earlier reports of an attack, police say.
Jacqueline Summer Beard, a longtime employee of the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), was found unresponsive Friday in a car that had been reported to police as suspicious. The 58-year-old was reportedly looking for the owner of a pack of dogs accused of attacking people in the Crumpton Road area outside of Red Bay, Alabama, AL.com reported. Franklin County Coroner Charlie Adcox pronounced her dead later that day.
While responding to the call from the vehicle, local MPs meeting locals were attacked by the same pack of dogs, with one person being slightly injured. Following this altercation, the animals were subdued and some were later euthanized.
“Beard is believed to have been attacked while attempting to contact the dog’s owner when she was killed by the dogs,” the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement, according to AL.com.
The dogs’ owner, Brandy Lee Dowdy, 39, was arrested after Beard’s body was found and charged with manslaughter. Under Emily’s Law, Alabama residents can face legal consequences as a result of their pets’ actions. As of Saturday morning, she was being held at the Franklin County Jail pending further investigation, according to jail records obtained by WHNT News.
The law, signed by Governor Kay Ivey in March 2018, is named after Emily Colvin, who was killed by a pack of dogs outside her home in 2017. Under the law, owners can face charges misdemeanor or felony depending on the nature and severity of their animal’s actions.
“The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) extends its deepest sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of Summer Beard, following her tragic passing,” said Ryan Easterling, Director of Media and ADPH communications, in a press release. sent to AL.com. “Summer was known to her colleagues as an exceptional person. She was a tremendous team worker and was loved by those who knew her. This is a very sad day for ADPH, and we ask everyone to respect the privacy of family during this most difficult time.”
The previous attack Beard tracked involved a woman who was mutilated while walking around the neighborhood. On Saturday, she remained hospitalized in a facility in Mississippi.
“She was in pretty serious condition,” Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said in a statement about the attack on the unnamed woman, AL.com reported.
Newsweek contacted the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for comment.