Erin McCleskey (36) – Manor, TX – Killed By Pack Of Dogs While Serving Papers (6/15/16)

Texas woman is mauled to death in front yard by pack of six dogs as she serves papers – but sheriff says the owners WON’T face charges

  • Erin McCleskey, 36, was killed Wednesday by a pack of six dogs
  • They attacked after she entered a Texas property to serve court papers 
  • The owners are out of town so a friend is giving them food and water
  • Since they didn’t sic dogs on her, the owners probably won’t be charged
  • The dogs are in quarantine and if deemed dangerous they’ll be destroyed

A woman was mauled to death by a pack of dogs at a home in Travis County on Wednesday, but their owner probably won’t face charges – despite residents saying they are ‘frightening’ and a nuisance.

Process server Erin McCleskey, 36, was attacked after she entered the front gate of the home of Donald and Terry Swanson to serve civil papers.

The Swansons have been out of town for more than a month, so her body was only found when a caretaker arrived to bring the dogs food and water, Statesman reported.

The death, which occurred on Fay Street in northwest Austin, is still under investigation but will most likely be ruled an accident, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Roger Wade.

‘If the homeowner’s not there and doesn’t sic the dogs on them, I don’t know what charges would be filed,’ he said. He added that the dogs were the property of Terry Swanson.

Six dogs – most of which were Labrador/Great Pyrenees mixes – have been impounded by Austin Animal Protection and placed in quarantine for rabies.

After ten days they will most likely be placed in the care of the city, which will then rule on whether they are dangerous and need to be destroyed.

But locals have said the animals are a ‘frightening’ menace that’s kept children off the streets.

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Austin woman mauled to death by dogs

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin woman is dead after several dogs attacked her at the front gate of a property in northeast Travis County.

Erin McCleskey, 36, was visiting the home on Fay Street on business Wednesday when she was attacked. A caretaker that arrived at the home to feed the dogs phoned 911. Deputies arrived around 9 p.m. to find her dead. A medical examiner determined McCleskey had been dead for at least five hours.

A spokesperson for EZ Messenger says McCleskey was an independent contractor process server and was working for their company at the time of the attack. It is not known what type of paperwork she was serving.

“Most of the time, dogs don’t do that, it’s very odd, very odd. I hate to hear it,” said Vernon Ballard, who lives down the street from the property where McCleskey was attacked. Ballard says his family has had problems with the dogs at that home for years.

“They do jump on everything. I don’t trust them, they’re scary. I don’t even like my dogs going around the block with us because I’m afraid that they will get attacked over there,” said Melissa Ballard. The couple is also worried about the dogs going after their 10-year-old daughter and other children in the neighborhood.

“They come out and chase them if they are riding their bikes and stuff and even the cars, they chase the cars if we go around the block,” said Melissa.

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Owner appeals order to kill dogs that mauled Austin woman

 Philip Jankowski – American-Statesman Staff – 2:54 p.m Thursday, July 7, 2016 Crime

The owner of six dogs involved in June’s fatal mauling of a 36-year-old Austin woman has appealed a court order to have the dogs put down.

The appeal will take the matter to a county court at law, where their fate will be decided by a different judge than the justice of the peace that ordered the dogs be euthanized on June 24.

During the hearing in Justice of the Peace Herb Evans’ court last month, the dogs’ owner, Terry Swanson, and the primary caretakers of the dogs, Robert McCray and Marjorie Kalinec, represented themselves. Swanson is now represented by Austin attorney Eric Torberson, who is working pro bono. Torberson specializes in animal related cases and met Swanson at the June 24 hearings, which he attended out of curiosity.

“I was disturbed by the lack of evidence at the hearing,” Torberson said. “When you are going to put six dogs to sleep you need to have more evidence than what was presented.”

McCray and Kalinec found McCleskey’s body on June 15 at a northern Travis County property in the 12300 block of Fay Street near Parmer Lane and Harris Branch Parkway.

The first arriving Travis County sheriff’s deputies noted that the dogs appeared to be docile. But as they remained on the property and worked to keep them away from McCleskey’s body, they began to exhibit aggressive behavior, the affidavit said.

Four of the dogs are Labrador mixes and two are Australian cattle dog mixes, according to court documents. They are between 2 and 8 years old, the documents said. All six have remained in quarantine at the Austin Animal Center since they were seized on June 15.

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In Memory of Erin McCleskey

September 10, 1979 – June 15, 2016


Erin McCleskey, 36, of Austin, Texas, passed away on June 15, 2016.
Erin was born in Temple, Texas on September 10, 1979. She graduated from Anderson High School and continued to attend Sam Houston State University where she studied marketing. Erin was an entrepreneur. She had an artistic eye for creating beautiful things, and loved to practice photography, especially taking pictures of Lake Austin in her own backyard. She enjoyed volunteering at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in her spare time. Erin had a passion for animals, especially her cats. Gabe, our family Sheltie will miss her immensely. As anyone who ever met her would tell you, Erin was incredibly fun to be with. She had a great sense of humor and an unforgettable contagious laugh. She had a delightful and infectious smile. She was a smart and resilient woman, loyal daughter, aunt and friend. Above all, being an aunt was Erin’s joy. She loved spending time with her nieces and nephews and loved and cared for each of them as if they were her own. Erin’s family and friends are heartbroken at this loss, but her sweet and loving spirit will be forever remembered by everyone who knew her.
Erin is survived by her grandparents Albert and Joanie Shapiro, parents Michael and Casimiera Shapiro, sisters Taylor and Melissa Shapiro and Brittany McCleskey Pecoy and husband Joel, brothers Chesley and wife Randi, and Jason Shapiro and girlfriend Erin Ball, nieces Ashlynn and Violet, nephews Chesley, Jr. and William, and many aunts, uncles, cousins, family and friends.
Erin is preceded in death by her father, Ben Michael McCleskey, grandparents, Paul and Julia Samojedny, grandmothers, Pat Miller, Sandy Shapiro.A private celebration of Erin’s life will be held on Sunday June 19th. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman, 36, Found Dead After Pack Attack in North Travis County reports

Judge Orders Euthanasia
UPDATE 06/24/16: On June 15, Erin McCleskey, 36-years old, attempted to serve court papers to a home on Fay Street in northeast Travis County. She exited her vehicle, leaving it running, and opened a gate that led onto the property. As soon as she entered, a pack of dogs on the property mauled her to death. Sarah Scott, the chief administrator for the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, said that her body was found after a neighbor investigated her car by the unlatched gate.

“A neighbor reported a vehicle was running and parked in front of the gate … This led the neighbor to check out the yard.” – Sarah Scott

Authorities impounded six adult dogs, described as four labrador-mixes and two Australian cattle dog-mixes. 14 puppies were also located on the property. The dogs’ owners were not present when the fatal attack occurred. On June 24, a Travis County justice of the peace ordered all six adult dogs to be euthanized after hearing testimony about the numerous bite injuries the dogs inflicted. After the ruling, the dogs’ primary owner, Terry Swanson, vowed to appeal the decision.

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cute dog house with dog food bowl and boneHousing
It is ideal that dogs live indoors. Indoor living helps the dog bond and become a part of the family and is also the easiest way to protect pets from the dangers of the outdoors. The majority of dogs do enjoy quality time outdoors. The outdoors is great for playing and exercising. Always make sure your pet is contained by a leash or fence when outdoors. Only well trained, working dogs should ever be off leash, such as police dogs or hunting dogs in the field.

Some dogs live primarily outdoors. Outdoor living can be acceptable as long as the dog is well cared for and its basic needs are met.  All outdoor dogs need a shelter or dog house to keep warm and dry in and to provide shade in the summer. The dog should have access to fresh, unfrozen water at all times. It is best that outdoor dogs live in fenced areas. It is not recommended to keep any dog on a chain or tether for long periods of time. This is not healthy for the dog and can create a frustrated animal that can pose potential danger to humans and other animals.

Proper Identification
Most counties require that all dogs and cats be vaccinated against the rabies virus. After the vaccine is administered, the dog is issued a tag to attach to its collar. The tag is made to be visible and easy to identify a dog current on its vaccine. The rabies tag often corresponds to owner information. This can be a way to determine ownership of stray animals.

Identification Name Tags
Additional identification tags can be purchased at local pet stores or online. These tags are meant to easily identify the animal and provide owner information. Most have the animal’s name and the owner’s phone number and/or address on them. Identification tags can be the quickest way to reunite lost dogs with their families.

The microchip is the size of a grain of rice and is inserted in the skin on an animal’s back. This chip contains a numerical code that can be read by a scanner and corresponds to owner information. Microchips are highly recommended because they can identify animals that have lost their collars and the additional tags. It is important that microchip owner information is updated every time there is a change in address or phone number.

Proper Veterinary Care
Healthy dogs require proper medical care. The majority of preventative care, such as vaccines, are done on a yearly basis. Some procedures such as spaying or neutering are done once and dental cleanings may be every few years or as needed. It is important to love your pet, but it is also important to be able to provide proper veterinary care. Basic and routine care of a dog can be quite expensive. There is also a chance that the dog may need additional medical care or treatment during the course of the year. It is wise to make sure that your pet has a fund or insurance policy in case of emergencies.

There are a variety of dog foods to choose from. There are lower end, mid end, and quality foods. There are also specialty foods, such as sensitive skin or stomach. It is best to do research into individual brands, different breed recommended nutritional needs, and your dog’s personal needs.  Working dogs may require a different diet than general companion animals.  Lower end foods do tend to cost less, but often can be less nutritional, require your pet eats more to feel satisfied, and produce more waste from your pet. Most pets can be healthy on mid to high quality foods.

Many breeds of dogs require regular grooming visits. These visits usually range from every 6-8 weeks and can vary by breed in price. Dogs that are not groomed on a regular basis can become matted and tangled. Being matted can be very painful to the pet. It is very important to a dog’s health that grooming needs are taken seriously and the dog’s coat is maintained properly.

shetland dog and harness

Every dog should wear a collar with proper identification attached. There are many types of collars to choose from. There are nylon/leather collars, choke chain collars, pinch collars, and harnesses. Each collar is designed for a different purpose. Nylon/leather are standard collars with a plastic or metal buckle. These collars are ideal for pets that walk easily on a leash. Choke chain collars are metal collars meant to “choke” the dog when they pull. These collars can be effective in controlling a dog, but can cause damage to the dog’s trachea. Pinch collars are designed to “pinch” the skin around the dog’s neck when they pull or get out of control. The pinching is to deter the dog from unwanted behaviors. There is some debate on whether choke chain and pinch collars are appropriate collars or border on being inhumane. The harness is designed to go around the dog’s midsection and back. A harness reduces the amount the dog can pull and does not put pressure on a dog’s throat and trachea.  Harnesses are considered effective and humane.

Most communities have leash laws, which mean the majority of dogs are required to be leashed when they leave their property. There are several types nylon/leather leashes with different styles and grips/handles. The majority of leashes are effective and appropriate in controlling a dog. The only leash that is not recommended is the retractable leash. This leash usually has a plastic handle and a thin piece of nylon that attaches to the dog’s collar. The handle has a button that lets the handler control how long or short the leash is. The retractable leash does not give the handler proper control over the animal.  The thin piece of nylon does allow the dog to be in control and to get too far from the handler holding the plastic handle.

There are optional dog supplies that owners may choose to purchase for their pet. These items include food dishes, beds, and coats. Currently, the pet industry is a booming industry and many items for your pet’s lifestyle and comfort are on the market. Each individual owner can decide what items to purchase and at what cost for their dog. Many items may improve the quality of life for the pet, but may not be a necessity.

Running dog on green grass

The majority of dogs require playtime and plenty of exercise to burn calories, stimulate their minds, and help satisfy their natural urges. Dogs that don’t have enough physical and mental stimulation tend to get bored, which can lead to destructive behaviors. Destructive behaviors can be costly to the owner and often can lead to a dog being surrendered to a shelter or re-homed.

The amount of exercise and play necessary for a dog depends on breed, age and the individual dog. Breeds in the sporting, herding, hound, and terrier groups generally need more exercise and activity to meet their needs than breeds in the toy and non-sporting groups.

Tyler Trammell-Huston (9) – Linda, CA – Killed By Sister’s 3 Pit Bulls After She Left Him Alone With The Dogs (1/3/16)


Payton Sawyers (1) – Independence, VA – Killed By Pit Bull-Mix While Under Care Of Babysitters (1/8/16)


Talen Nathan West (7) – Lumberton, NC – Killed By Neighbor’s Pit Bull While Playing In The Woods With His Brother (1/24/16)


Aiden Grim-Morelli (3 days) – Youngstown, OH – Killed By Family “Mix-breed Shepherd” When Left In A Laundry Basket (2/8/16)


Suzanne Story (36) – Hertford, NC – Killed By A Pit Bull-Mix She Adopted 2 Weeks Earlier (2/10/16)


Gladys Alexander (92) – Olympia, WA – Killed By Her Neighbor’s 4 Pit Bull-Mixes While Delivering Newspaper (3/8/16)


Bessie Flowers (86) – Charlotte, NC – Killed By Her Daughter’s 2 Pit Bulls While Visiting (3/28/16)


Sonda Dyan Tyson (66) – Leesburg, FL – Killed By Her Own Pit Bull-Bullmastiff mix (3/31/16)


Valente Lopez Aguirre (58) – Fresno County, CA – Killed By Pack Of Dogs (4/14/16)


Sebastian Caban (3 days) – San Diego, CA – Killed By The Family Pit Bull-Mix While Lying In Bed With His Parents (4/21/16)


Manuel Mejia (49) – Homestead, FL – Killed By 1 Pit Bull Type & 9 Belgian Malinois-Bulldog Mixes While Farming (4/24/16)


Adonis Reddick (45) – St. Louis County, MO – Killed By His Own Pit Bull (5/9/16)


Antoinette Brown (52) – Dallas, TX – Killed By A Pack Of 4 Pit Bull-Mixes, Rottweiler, Shepherd & Doberman-Mixes (5/9/16)


Earl Stephens Jr. (43) – Stockton, CA – Killed By 3 Pit Bulls While Visiting A Friend – (6/4/16)


Hunter Bragg (7) – Corinna, ME – Killed By A Pit Bull While Playing In Father’s Yard (6/4/16)


Erin McCleskey (36) – Manor, TX – Killed By Pack Of Dogs While Serving Papers (6/15/16)


Jocelyn Winfrey (53) – New Haven, CT – Killed By 2 Pit Bull Type Dogs While Visiting Friend (6/27/16)


Susie Kirby (3-days) – Fresno, CA – Killed By The Family’s 2 Pit Bull/Shar Pei Mixes (6/27/16)


Kayden Begay (3) – Navajo Nation Reservation, AZ – Killed By The Neighbor’s 5 Pit Bulls (7/14/16)


Elizabeth Rivera (71) – Detroit, MI – Killed By Her Daughter’s 4 Pit Bulls (7/16/16)


Crisencio Aliado (52) – Honolulu, HI – Killed By 2 Loose Pit Bull-Mixes (7/29/16)


Michelle Wilcox (30) – Screven County, Georgia – Killed By Her Boyfriend’s Pit Bull While Visiting (8/1/16)


Derion Stevenson (9) – Las Vegas, NV – Killed By Pit Bull-Mix While Visiting Friend (8/17/16)


Michael Downing (83) – Jacksonville, FL – Killed By Rottweiler & 3 Mixed-Breeds While Taking Out Trash (8/19/16)


Susan Shawl (60) – Conifer, CO – Killed By Her Son’s 2 Family Pit Bulls (8/29/16)


Baby Jane Doe (6-days) – College Station, TX – Killed By Breed Unknown (9/1/16)


Piper Dunbar (2) – Topeka, KS – Killed By Family Friend’s 2 Pit Bulls (9/24/16)


Kiyana McNeal (4) – Sherman Township, MI – Killed By A Doberman-Mix Within An Hour Of Adopting (10/23/16)


Daisie Bradshaw (68) – New York City, NY – Killed By Her Daughter’s 2 Pit Bull-Mixes (10/25/16)


Isaiah Jacob Franklin (6) – Huntington, WV – Killed By The Family Pit Bull (12/2/16)


David Fear (64) – Grover Beach, CA – Killed By Neighbor’s Police K9 (12/16/16)