A young woman described as a beautiful soul is dead after being attacked by a pack of pit bulls near Section, Alabama.
24-year-old Emily Mae Colvin was killed while walking in her own neighborhood Thursday morning at County Road 121 in Jackson County.
Authorities said that one of the five pit bulls who attacked her became aggressive and also tried attacking a deputy when they responded to a 911 call regarding the incident. That pit bull was shot and the other four vicious animals were taken away by police.
Colvin is the second person in the state to die at the jaws of the pit bull breed in only a matter of days.
Heavy spoke with family and close friends of the victim.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Friend Said ‘The Dogs Would Always Ambush Us’
As she was walked outside, Colvin was speaking with her aunt on the phone, a family member told Heavy. The aunt reportedly heard that something was amiss and tried to help the woman. The dogs subsequently attacked her as well, though physically she’s expected to recover. Family members are grateful that she put her own life on the line and called her a a “hero.”
The victim lived next door to the owner of the pit bulls.
Deanne Rhamatulla, a close friend of Colvin, spoke with Heavy. She stated:
I had spent all day with her Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and we had plans for yesterday afternoon. But the dogs would always ambush us. Barking and jumping. One of them bit her Monday, but it was nothing bad and she simply took a photo of it and brushed it off.
I begged her to let me address it with the neighbors Wednesday because I told her that they way they barked bothered me, that I felt like they might one day attack. She asked me not to because she didn’t want the neighbors mad at her.
She told me how unnecessary it was to have five pit bulls that roamed unleashed….she asked me if I thought she was being over dramatic about them and I told her no, that if something were to ever happen, the owners would be held responsible and we needed to act before something bad happened. Then the next day, it did.
She was literally the kind of person who would never instigate or provoke negativity with anyone.
The friend added that Colvin had five dogs of her own, none of which were pit bulls and all of whom were well-cared for.
2. A Neighbor Described the Dogs as ‘Loveable’ & Said ‘If Anything They’d Lick You to Death’
A neighbor told WAAY that he was “shocked” that the dogs attacked. “They never used to snarl, bark or nothing,” he told the station. “Those dogs are the most loveable of all dogs I’ve ever known…if anything they’d lick you to death.”
While many are taking to social media to try and recover the pit bull breed’s reputation, others are speaking about the facts surrounding Colvin’s death and statistics involving the breed.
Angela Mcabee, a First Responder on the scene, wrote about the horror she witnessed after responding to the 911 call:
First of all I will tell you I WAS there when the 911 call came in, we responded to it. Those five sweet pits, as some of ya’ll are saying, chewed that poor girl to pieces, literally. Literally to pieces and we couldn’t tell what the poor girl even looked like. There was blood everywhere so the people defending these animals…I hope to God you never have a family member [who’s attacked] or see that in your life.
Instead of defending these animals you need to pray for this family. And to the lady that said she was feeding them, no she wasn’t feeding them. A lot of people have been complaining about those dogs and nobody wouldn’t do nothing about it. So now the owners are going to jail and y’all sweet pits are down.
Dana Cruz stated that anyone who lives near pit bulls should carry a gun.
“If pit bulls live in your neighborhood, carry a gun y’all,” she wrote. “They will come up onto your property and kill you, your kids, your grandma…”
3. Another Woman About 50 Miles Away Was Killed by Pit Bulls as She Took a Walk Only Days Prior, & Colvin is the 35th Person to Die by the Breed This Year
“This is the second fatal pit bull mauling in northeast Alabama in a matter of days,” Dogsbite.org reported. “On November 29, about 50 miles away in Guntersville, a pack of pit bulls killed 46-year old Tracy Cornelius and severely injured another woman who had been walking along Jason Road. The four dogs first attacked the woman. Cornelius intervened to help save her and the dogs turned on her. Cornelius was pronounced dead at the scene. The other woman was airlifted to a hospital in Huntsville.”
According to Animals 24-7, Colvin “became the 50th person killed by dogs of all breeds combined in 2017, and the 34th person to be killed by pit bulls in the U.S. alone.”
Heavy spoke with Julie Wall, a volunteer at National Pit Bull Victim Awareness, who argued that owners of the dogs should have to carry a special license and further stated that they’re an unsafe breed to keep as family pets. She said:
Our laws favor dangerous dog owners. It is frustrating that these owners are not being charged with negligent homicide. You should have to have an exotic animal license to own a pit bull just like if you owned a lion or tiger. If you want to own a type of dog that has the propensity and capabilities of severely mauling or killing humans, you should be licensed to own that animal.
Pit bulls are selectively bred to recognize other dogs as prey to fight in a pit to the death. You never know when it will be triggered. This is not a safe breed trait to have in a family pet.
4. Authorities Are ‘Preparing the Case for a Grand Jury’
Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips said that the owners of the pit bulls are liable for their pet’s actions.
“What we will be doing is preparing a case for the grand jury. It will go before a grand jury in March. We will have to wait for the autopsy results before we take it that far.” Sheriff Phillips explained, according to WHNT.
The station also reported that this was “the first time the dogs have attacked a human.”
“We received a call back sometime ago, maybe these dogs and the victim’s dog had killed llamas that were in a pasture nearby. That’s the only complaint we have ever had on them,” the sheriff said.
The victim’s friend told Heavy that there was “no way” that the news of Colvin’s dog’s participating in killing llamas could be true.
“They were beagle mix dogs and they were spoiled rotten lazy babies,” Rhamatulla told Heavy. “Never let out to roam.”
5. Loved Ones Remember Her as a Beautiful and Loving Person
When asked to describe her friend, Rhamatulla said that “she was the kind of girl who would capture a spider and release it outside, and then explain to me that the spiders life is just as equally important to itself as hers is to her. She valued life. She wanted to be a mother. She loved animals.”
“It’s an extremely heartbreaking time for all who loved Emily,” Jessica Flannery told Heavy. “Emily was my niece. She was truly beautiful inside and out. This is so hard to swallow because her death should and could have been prevented. I’m still finding it quite hard to wrap my head around it. There are so many things Emily never got to experience because of something so senseless and preventable…that’s so heartbreaking!”
“There are no words,” another friend wrote. “Emily Colvin. You are missed so much already by so many! That smile…Completely beautiful inside and out! We love you!”
“I don’t even know what to say,” Tiger Frasier wrote. “Rest in Peace my friend. You were the ray of sunshine in a lot of people’s lives, especially mine. Not a day will go by that we won’t think about you and constantly miss how goofy you were at work. I love you forever Emily ?❤ Emily Colvin.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Colvin’s family cover funeral expenses during this tragic time. You may click here to donate.