- SPLENDORA -- A 52-year-old
woman who raised pit bull terriers was killed after being mauled by four
of them she had raised from puppies, the Harris County Medical Examiner's
Office ruled Wednesday.
- Bernard Lee Carter returned from work about 7 p.m. Tuesday
to find the dogs standing over Dorothy Carter, his wife of six years. She
was face down in an enclosed back porch, Splendora police Sgt. Mark Seals
- ChronicleAn outside shot of the Carter's home in Splendora."There
were a lot of bites all over her," Seals said of the bloody scene.
"It's probably the worst I've seen."
- Carter was pronounced dead at the scene by Cynthia McMillan,
Montgomery County Precinct 4 justice of the peace.
- A preliminary report late Wednesday from the Harris County
Medical Examiner's office said Carter died of dog bites. Earlier,officials
speculated she might have died as a result of a seizure before being attacked.
- But Seals said the medical examiner's office reported
no evidence that Carter had suffered a seizure before the attack.
- As a result, Seals said he would ask McMillan for an
order to destroy the dogs. McMillan had ordered the dogs impounded. She
said a veterinarian had given them medication to empty their stomachs.
- "It's so gross I can't tell you," McMillan
said of the incident, which occurred at the Carter home on Shadow Briar
Lane in theDeerbrook subdivision.
- Carter was severely disfigured and had deep wounds to
her arms and legs, Seals said.
- Officers at the Montgomery County Animal Control, where
the dogs are being kept, said the animals -- two of them males -- weighbetween
45 and 100 pounds.
- Her husband said they range in age from 3 1/2 years to
- The youngest dog, Bud, was Dorothy Carter's lap dog,
her husband said.
- Carter, 50, a mechanic, said the dogs were his wife's
protectors. When she recently suffered a seizure in bed, he said, the dogstried
to get her up by pulling on her hair.
- "They always protected her. They were probably trying
to get her to get up," a teary-eyed Carter said while sitting in the
livingroom of his home. "In my mind that's what happened."
- He suspects his wife had a seizure in the morning and
fell. She was still wearing her morning coat when he found her, he said.
- Carter said when he left for work at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday,
his wife was up. He said if she didn't take her medication early, she wouldtend
to forget. Her seizures, he said, had become more severe recently, causing
her to fall and hit her head several times.
- Although pit bull terriers are perceived as vicious,
Carter said his four dogs had never exhibited aggression towardhim or his
- "They've never bitten anybody. They've never harmed
any other animal. I don't know what happened," he said. He described
the pets asindoor dogs that were prone to sleeping on couches.
- "They wouldn't hurt anybody," he said.
- Police have no history of calls to the residence, located
on about two acres on a dead-end street, related to animals, Seals said.The
one time police went to the home was when Dorothy Carter thought someone
was trying to break in, he said.
- Carter said the dogs would bark if anyone walked onto
their property, enclosed by a 400-foot chain-link fence. An electric fence
ontop of that is designed to keep the dogs in and stray animals out, he
- The dogs had not left the property in more than a year,
except when the couple would take the oldest male, Jack, for a ride in
thecar, he said.
- Carter described Jack as "fat and always just laid
- Carter said he and his wife had been raising pit bulls
for about 3 1/2 years and would sell them.
- "Nobody has ever had any problems with them,"
he said. "We've never had any problems with them."
- Neighbor Christie Hantelman, who lives across the street,
said the dogs were not aggressive. Nevertheless, she would not go to thehome
because of the animals.
- "I thought she had a seizure and had died from that.
I was shocked the dogs had done that," she said.
- Carter is contemplating how to pay for his wife's funeral
expenses. His wife, he said, wanted to be cremated and her ashes spread
- "I had so many plans for me and her," he said,
including improvements to their home, which they had lived in six years.
Their planswere sidetracked when she lost her job with an auto parts store.
That meant not only the loss of income but also the loss of thecouple's
- The couple met while Dorothy Carter was delivering parts
to the auto mechanic shop where Bernard Carter worked.
- He said they had kept to themselves of late, especially
since her health had started failing.
- "We really didn't get out much. We mainly stayed
at home and would work in the yard," said Carter, apologizing for
the overgrowngrass. A broken lawn mower, he said, had not been repaired
- "She loved this place. She picked out the house,"
he said of the couple's manufactured home. "She picked out the lot.
We just wantedto live here and have a happy life."