Officers fatally shoot dog that mauled owner to death, Leesburg police say

Cops: Bloody dog blocked door to woman's home

LEESBURG, Fla. – Authorities say Leesburg police officers fatally shot a "vicious" dog that attacked and killed its owner on Thursday.

Leesburg police Lt. Joe Iozzi says the woman, identified as 66-year-old Sonda Tyson, died Thursday night.

"She's bleeding everywhere. Her bones are showing," a family member said during the 911 call.

Paramedics said they were called to the home on South Street for medical assistance and when they arrived, the deceased victim was found with a large brindle pit bull mix breed inside, covered in blood, according to a police report.

Paramedics called police, who determined the dog had likely just attacked and killed Tyson inside her home, police said.

"There were multiple wounds on the victim. Some were determined to be defensive type wounds, others were determined to be postmortem wounds," Leesburg police Lt. Joe Iozzi said. "It was a pretty vicious attack and it was a pretty gruesome scene for everybody that was there."

According to police, the dog was not secure, would not allow personnel to go into the home and there was a "substantial likelihood that the dog could escape into the surrounding neighborhood."

"Given those circumstances, it was immediately necessary to incapacitate the animal in order to provide for public safety and to allow medical personnel inside the location," police said in a release. "An officer assigned with a patrol rifle positioned himself to stop the existing threat and to mitigate the possibility of collateral damage to anyone else."

"The cop came over, knocked on my door and he was like, 'Can you stay on the other side of the house? We're about to fire a rifle,'" neighbor Jen Smith said.

Officers shot and killed the dog. Iozzi says officers are trained to use discretion when they find a large dog growling and covered in blood blocking a door.

Investigators determined the dog belonged to Tyson and she had acquired him as a puppy, according to the report.

"It's concerning and very odd that the dog would attack an owner that had taken care of him for that long," Iozzi said.

It's not clear what was the reason for the attack.

"He didn't look mean. He didn't look vicious at all. He looked adorable," Smith said.

A necropsy will be done on the dog.

About the Author:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!