Autopsy: Dog bites killed NM man attacked by pack

AP News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2011 2:47 PM
Autopsy: Dog bites killed NM man attacked by pack

Bites from a relentless pack of dogs killed a 55-year-old man with a history of seizures who was found lying unconscious along the side of a road while the animals mauled him, a medical examiner's report said.

McKinley County deputies had to chase the dogs away so emergency medical technicians could help Larry Armstrong, who was found lying on the ground Dec. 8 in the small community of Sundance, on Navajo Nation land near Gallup.

"The dogs tried to come back, so we had to use pepper spray to keep them away while the EMTs attended to the victim," sheriff's Lt. Tom Mumford told KOAT television in December. "The dogs, they were downright angry. You could see their ribs sticking out."

Armstrong later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The state Office of the Medical Investigator found multiple puncture wounds, tears and scrapes on his head, neck, abdomen, arms and legs.

An autopsy report said Anderson suffered from seizures and had been taken to the hospital because of that problem the day before his death.

Medical investigators wrote in their report that they didn't know whether Armstrong suffered a seizure before the dogs attacked or whether he was conscious when they started mauling him.

His death was ruled an accident.

Rob Platero, the Navajo Nation's chief of criminal investigations in Window Rock, Ariz., said a number of dogs were rounded up and killed after Armstrong's death. He could only say "several" dogs were involved in the attack and he did not know how many animals from the area were destroyed.

Samples from the dogs were sent for examination to check for rabies or other diseases, Platero said.

Once the results of the tests are in, an investigator will meet with a tribal prosecutor to decide whether a complaint will be filed against the owners of the dogs, Platero said.

Investigators could not verify allegations of previous problems involving dogs in the area, he said.