Elderly Couple Killed By Pack of Dogs

Daphne Reid
by Daphne Reid
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Lexington, Georgia (Aug 20th, 2009)

An elderly couple have been killed by "feral" dogs in a town in Georgia after they were attacked while taking a morning walk.

Elderly Couple Killed By Pack of Dogs

The bodies of former college professor Luther Karl Schweder, 77, and Sherry Schweder, 65 were discovered early on Saturday morning, with the dogs still present at the scene. Authorities say that the Mrs. Schweder was attacked by the dogs while she was out for a walk and her husband died trying to fight off the animals. 11 mixed-breed dogs were captured at the scene, and 5 more have been subsequently caught. All 16 dogs were euthanized on Tuesday at the Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter.

Residents of the area say that they were familiar with the dogs, and that they had never shown any signs of aggression before. It is thought that some dogs were left behind at an abandoned property in the area when the resident of the house, Howard Thaxton, moved away with health problems, and since then the dogs have multiplied and become more feral. However, it is claimed that Thaxton has been driven to the house every few days to leave food for the dogs.

There have been at least 20 fatal dog attacked in the United States so far in 2009, where are there are approximately 75 million pet dogs. The authorities are still considering whether Thaxton can be held culpable for the tragedy in any way.

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Louisiana
AstrexRabbits
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Added on Aug 31st, 2009
In many states there is a "lease law" and this law clearly states that a dog owner must be in control of his/her dogs AT ALL TIMES... meaning knowing their whereabouts, containing them behind a fence, in a kennel, etc. The owner/s, under lease laws, are fully responsible for any hurt, harm, destruction, etc. the animals does/causes, etc. Lease laws are in effect for just this reason, to keep unsupervised, uncontroled dogs OFF the streets and from harming people and other pets/animals.
   
I have raised rabbits for years. Between March and April of 2006 we had 5 attacks on the rabbitry from the SAME THREE semi feral dogs. There were 3 running in a PACK...all 70 - 85 lbs dogs, a mother, and two inbred pups from neighbor down the road. These unsupervised semil feral dogs scaled 5 and 6 foot fences to tear rabbits our of their cages, and KILL them, eating NOTHING, just killing. We waited at night with guns and lights, they never approached, but could be "hear" in the nearby woods. The next morning between 6 and 7 after we to eat/clean up from the night they attacked and killed again !! Within an hour.
   
I was ALMOST taken down by them. The mother dog (alpha bitch is the correct name for this pack leader if it's a female dog) lead her two grown male pups.
   
I nearly turned and ran. If I had the mother dog would have lead the other two and took attacked me. We stood starring for about 3 minutes, I realized if I ran she would attack me. The truck was about 10 feet behind me, I slammed a gate between us and ran for the truck, leaping into it. They ran for the gate. I had only a BB gun in the truck (rifle had been taken back to the house) I grabbed it and begin shooting her around her head, out of the truck window, after a couple of minutes she turned her "pack" and they fled.
   
MY POINT is YES, the owners are actually liable for what their dogs do.
Oklahoma
PetSkunkGirl
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Added on Aug 21st, 2009
I am NOT saying that it was RIGHT by ANY means, but I do believe there might be more to this story than what people believe.
   
Just because its an elderly couple doesnt mean she 'couldnt possibly' have been a mean old lady who doesnt like dogs, right?? She couldNT of set one off because she was 'elderly' and 65 years old, come on people that is not THAT old such as her husband which was 77. They still have quite a bit of kick in their step at 65.. I guess none of us have ever came across an old lady or old man who was just mean to the bone. I guess its not possible that she could have kicked one that tried to come up and lick her or jump on her to get her attention is it?? Maybe her husband saw her lying there and did the same things she was originally doing.. ?
   
How do we know this wasnt an act of self defense OF the dogs???
   
I think we ALL should look at this from a wider point of view. NO---- I am NOT saying that it is IMPOSSIBLE for there to have been one dog that was mean and vicious that attacked and the others were just simply following the leader of the pack etc... or that Mr. Thaxton didNT have intentions of coming back after all.. but you have to read where it says- it is thought that some dogs were left at the house----- first of all it says it is thought.. that doesnt mean it is true... and also, that could have came from one individual whom didnt like this Mr. Thaxton and the media twisted it around to make it look so much worse.
   
We dont know all the facts.. therefore I personally will not say that Mr. Thaxton should or shouldnt be punished by law.
   
Oklahoma
PetSkunkGirl
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Added on Aug 21st, 2009
I am definitally not going to sit here and say that Mr. Thaxton was right for what he did, leaving them behind like that. But I will say that obveously in some shape or form, he must have cared about the original dogs he started out with OR he wouldnt of been coming back to feed them and as pattyjw59 said- one person left their dogs INSIDE a trailor home with no food or water. Now that is someone whom doesnt care at all. That is cruel and sick.
   
What some people dont understand is that the dogs might have originally been in a controlled environment in his backyard, they could have dug holes like we ALL know dogs can do, the owner might have had intentions to go pick these dogs up when he got done painting, fixing the house..(making it liveable) etc... Whos to say he also wasnt feeding them a substancial amount of food for 3 days (such as when we all go on vacation and dont want our pets to be put through the hell of being in a kennel with a TON of other dogs crying/whining or barking ALOT which I believe is even more stressful than their own backyard).. We all know how the media can turn things into something they arent. My question is..
   
why would he be coming back to feed them if he had no intentions in the first place to care? There must be some reason he was coming back to feed them.
   
Washington
mooncat526
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Added on Aug 21st, 2009
In my state, it is illegal to leave animals abandoned on a property. They still belong to the owner. He is responsible for the dogs, in my state he could be charged with a huge fine for abandoning the dogs and charged in the death of the couple. This horrible, tragic, incident was so unnecessary. The dogs only did what they were allowed to do. They probably DO behave like half-wild animals. And they were destroyed because their owner wasn't responsible enough to have the original dogs spayed/neutered and release them to the humane society.
California
woofnmew
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Added on Aug 21st, 2009
I agree with MewMew. Anyone who was feeding a pack of semi-feral dogs should have been doing it daily in a controlled environment. He should also have notified the local pound of SPCA of the situation. If one dog became upset, the pack mentality probably kicked in, leading to tragedy. I doubt if a court would find the man culpable of homicide, however, I think he should be sentenced to community-service, preferably working at a shelter, and be made to attend a course in canine behavior.
Georgia
ace223143
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Added on Aug 20th, 2009
I find it horrible and definitely feel that Thaxton should be held accountable. There is no reason to leave pets behind. If you can't take care of them,then find them a home or take them to a no kill shelter. He should also be charge with cruelty to animals if he was only feeding them once every three days. Starving a dog brings out that animal instinct to hunt. If he would have acted responsibly, the couple would still be alive.
Georgia
pattyjw59
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Added on Aug 20th, 2009
There IS a reason for this happening: first, stupid people don't get their animals spayed and neutered, and really have no excuse anymore, since a lot of places will do it for FREE now; and secondly, irresponsible, selfish and cruel people just abandon their animals wherever to fend for themselves. I am not referring to the ill old man in this story, but how could his ADULT kids just let the animals be abandoned like that?? For the sake of the dogs (and future dog attack victims) at least take them to the animal shelter, you idiots! A friend of mine who is a property manager told me recently that some a-hole moved out and left his three dogs behind INSIDE a mobile home. No one knew they were there and the dogs slowly died of hunger and thirst. There has got to be a special HELL just for people like that. It makes me sick the way some people treat their "pets."
Texas
bwdogtraining
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Added on Aug 20th, 2009
Abandoning animals is bad enough! Returning to feed them every few days "KEEPS THEM" as your responsibility!
Canada
Jbobs1
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Added on Aug 20th, 2009
Yes, he should be held responsible. If he cared about the well-being of the dogs he should have had them rescued. Roaming dogs that get together in packs change their mentality from that of a single dog. They become bolder and cause damage to property and livestock. Not to mention that the dogs were probably very hungry. If he knew the dogs were at large he should have reported them to the spca or humane society. Now two people are dead, not to mention 16 dogs, due to someone's negligence.
New York
seablood
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Added on Aug 20th, 2009
Dogs are pack animals. Every pack must have a leader. Normally, a person who owns a dog serves as the pack leader. But if the owner is absent and lets his dogs run freely as they like, a new leader will emerge. The pack is, then, likely to begin pursuit of other, more anti-social, goals-----much like a pack of wolves.
   
Mr Thaxton did nobody any favors by feeding his unattended dogs. I'm not familiar with the laws in Georgia, but in most places he would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
South Carolina
MewMew
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Added on Aug 20th, 2009
That is just horrible. Something must have set the dogs off or they were very hungry. I always think there must be a reason for something like this happening.