CHIPLEY, Fla. — The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a woman was mauled to death by dogs near her assisted living facility.
According to deputies, 60 year old Beverly Jean Dove, a resident of Home Sweet Home Assisted Living Facility in Chipley, was attacked by at least five dogs on Tuesday afternoon while on a walk near the facility.
She later died from those injuries.
“A couple deputies were first on scene,” explained Sheriff Kevin Crews on Friday. “It was a pretty horrific scene. One like they had, in their careers, never been to.”
Crews said an investigation into the incident has led investigators to believe the dogs lived on an adjoining property of the group home, and that the dogs were not likely to be wild or stray. He said he believes all of the dogs involved in the incident have been captured by Washington County Animal Control. Crews also said the Sheriff’s Office has been joined by the Agency for Health Care Administration to look into the assisted living facility.
However, a resident who said he helps take care of the property, Larry Brown, said the dogs did not belong to anyone at the facility.
“We don’t own dogs because the insurance policy actually says that we can’t have dogs on the facility,” said Brown. “We’ve been having problems with dogs over and over.”
Brown said he and several others have seen dozens of stray or feral dogs in the area over the last couple of months. He said they have called Animal Control about the issue repeatedly, but that animal control officers have not come to check on the situation. He also claimed that Animal Control gave him permission to shoot any dogs that approach the facility, as long as he did not shoot them in the head.
“I don’t like to shoot dogs, I love dogs,” said Brown. “But I will not have a dog to come in and bite people or attack people.”
Brown and several other residents said they have seen and heard of packs of loose dogs in the area, on Joe Neel Road, Monroe Sheffield Road, and Old Mill Road.
Washington County Animal Control officials were not available to comment on the claims.
Both Sheriff Crews and Brown said they hope to get to the bottom of the issue as quickly as possible to ensure what happened to Dove never happens again.
“We just need to try to capture it and get to where people can walk and not have to worry about the dogs,” said Brown.