An Oklahoma woman who died after being attacked by a pack of dogs May 11 captured headlines across the nation. The reason? The dogs who apparently killed 52-year-old Tracy Garcia were initially reported by multiple media outlets as Dachshunds. However, the veterinarian who euthanized the dogs stated otherwise, which caused so much heat that the veterinary hospital’s Facebook page was taken down.
In a now deleted Facebook post, Dr. Douglas Aldridge, of Westwood Veterinary Hospital, Inc., described the dogs as being largely pit bull type dogs. Afterward, numerous social media users expressed the dogs were originally identified as Dachshunds to protect the pit bull breed’s reputation.
“We have been receiving a lot of negative messages regarding the breeds of dogs involved in the terrible attack,” Aldridge wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post. “I believe that people are missing the point regarding the breeds of dogs that were involved.”
“A woman died. The dogs appear to me to be a pit bull and 4 pit-bull mix puppies. Who knows what the female was. She looked to me like an Australian Shepherd mixed with something with short legs. It was tragic. The person who previously made a statement about the breed previously works at the shelter, not here.”
The dogs were also previously identified as being under 40 pounds. Dr. Aldridge said that was also inaccurate.
“There was one that was larger, approximately 55-60 pounds, that the owners described as the sire to these shorter dogs.”
After the animals were euthanized, they were brought to Ardmore Animal Shelter where they were examined by Amanda Dinwiddle, a vet technician, and the shelter’s co-director, Tena Layton, before being cremated.
Layton told The Daily Ardmoreite that the dogs, who were infested with ticks and fleas, “appeared to be a mix of dashchund and some type of terrier.”
CrimeOnline spoke exclusively with Layton, who released a photo of the dogs and said she wanted people to know that “any breed is capable of killing a person.”
“We identified the dogs by what we thought they predominantly looked like, and that was standard dachshunds, and that’s what we identified them as….The only reason that we even took photos and allowed the media to come out to look at those breeds of those dogs was to try and make the public aware that it does not matter the size of an animal or the breed of an animal, that when they run in a pack, this is what can happen.”
Layton added that she has owned and rescued pit bulls, and was adamant that any breed is capable of what the dogs did to Garcia, who was savaged to death by the animals.
“39 U.S. dog bite-related fatalities occurred in 2017,” Dogsbite.org reports. “Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 900 U.S. cities, pit bulls contributed to 74% (29) of these deaths. Pit bulls make up about 6.5% of the total U.S. dog population.”
When CrimeOnline questioned Layton as to why pit bulls and mixes thereof statistically kill more people than all other breeds, she suggested DNA could be the answer.
“I guess it’s something they may have in their DNA,” she stated, adding that “somewhere down the line” of the breed’s lineage that killed Garcia “surely could’ve been pit bull.”
Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant, who originally reported one of the dogs as being a pit bull, now says authorities are unsure of the breed.
“It’s very tragic, and we are very sympathetic of the family, and the friends of the family,” Carter told CrimeOnline. “We’re trying to do everything we can to speed this investigation up so everyone can have closure and move on with their lives. We do not know 100% and the family doesn’t know 100% what the breed of dogs were.”
[Feature Photo: Tracy Garcia/Handout]