PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. — The five dogs that killed 61-year-old postal worker Pamela Rock had moved rocks to escape a fenced in yard, Putnam County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Joe Wells said at a briefing Tuesday.
Animal control and deputies had been called to the neighborhood in the Interlachen Lake Estates area four times over the past three years for vicious animal complaints, Wells said. Indications are that the dogs responsible for Rock's death were the reason for at least two of those previous complaints.
The dogs involved in the fatal attack Sunday will be euthanized, Wells said. A criminal investigation is underway.
The dogs were mixed breed, Wells continued. There was no evidence to suggest they were being bred.
Rock's niece said, "She had one arm amputated before she passed. And they had her other limbs in slings trying to save them, her heart stopped twice and her blood pressure was all over the place."
"How did it get so far?" Rock's niece continued. "Why were so many dogs able to get to her? Where were the owners? Why were they not locked up?"
Rock died Monday evening at around 7:30 p.m. at a Gainesville hospital, officals said. Her postal delivery vehicle broke down Sunday in the 2000 block of Walker Drive, a rural area of Putnam County.
"She just started this job in December," Rock's niece said. "She had finished up her training and she was just so excited for this new adventure."
While Rock waited for assistance, officials said the dogs broke through the fence of a nearby house and attacked. The dogs' owner and neighbors attempted to intervene, one firing several rounds of a firearm into the air and into the ground to disrupt the attack, but it wasn't enough.
The owner of the dogs is cooperating, Wells said. Depending on the evidence, the owner could be charged.
"They were negligent in the care of their animals," Rock's niece said. "They did not just attack her, they were ripping her apart."
When deputies responded to the scene Sunday, they found Rock bleeding on the ground. Neighbors and the dogs’ owner had contained the dogs when deputies arrived. Deputies immediately provided first aid to Ms. Rock, including applying tourniquets until rescue units arrived, according to officials.
Witnesses told deputies they heard a woman scream for help and when they went outside they saw her on the ground with five dogs attacking.
Animal Control arrived at the scene and took custody of the five dogs identified by witnesses in the attack. The owner relinquished custody of the animals at that time, according to officials.
Rock was taken to HCA Florida Putnam Hospital and then flown to a trauma center in Gainesville. She remained in critical condition until her death, officials said.