An Alabama Department of Health employee was mauled to death by a pack of dogs while following up on an attack that took place earlier in the week by the same pack of dogs, officials said.
Jacqueline Summer Beard, a 58-year-old longtime employee of the Alabama Department of Public Health, died on Friday in the savage attack in Red Bay, close to the Alabama-Mississippi border, according to authorities.
Beard was Investigating Attack Reported to Animal Control
On Sunday, Beard was investigating a canine attack reported to Franklin County Animal Control, where a woman was attacked by a pack of dogs. However, she never returned from the investigation and deputies responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle in the area around 6 p.m. Sunday, cops said.
Investigators believe she was trying to contact the dog's owner about the incident when she was attacked and killed by the same dogs. The health department investigates animal bites due to potential risks for human rabies exposure.
The owner of the dogs Brandy Dowdy, 39, has been arrested and charged with manslaughter and charges under the Dangerous Dog law. Under Emily's Law, which was signed into law by Govenor Kay Ivey in March 2018, owners of dangerous dogs can be sent to prison if their animals seriously injure or kill someone.
Officers Found Beard Mauled to Death
Officers discovered Beard's mauled body when they were called to respond to a report of a suspicious vehicle on Crumpton Road in a rural area outside of Red Bay. When they arrived on the scene, they witnessed several of the dogs starting to attack some local residents.
There were seven dogs in total, Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver told AL.com. Some of the dangerous canines had to be put down immediately, according to the sheriff's office. When officers returned to the scene they found Beard, who was pronounced dead by the coroner.
Oliver also noted that the woman who was injured in the earlier dog attack was in a "serious condition" at a hospital in Mississippi.
Alabama Department of Public Health Pays Tribute to Beard
Beard was as an environmentalist supervisor in Franklin, Marion and Winston counties, according to the ADPH. She worked for the health department for almost 17 years.
"The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) extends our deepest sympathy to the family, friends, and colleagues of Summer Beard, after her tragic passing," Ryan Easterling, the director of the ADPH's Health Media and Communications Division, said in a statement. "Summer was known to her coworkers as an exceptional person. She was a tremendous team worker and was loved by those who knew her."
"It is a very sad day for ADPH, and we ask that everyone respect the privacy of the family during this most difficult time," the department added.