A 45-year-old father of five died Thursday after he was viciously attacked by a pack of dogs who left more than 100 bites on his body.
The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office in Florida said that while a final determination as to cause of death will be made following toxicology reports, there were no wounds other than that of dog bites found on the body of Melvin Olds Jr.
Olds was found in a wooded area behind a home in Lake Placid just before noon, authorities said, hours after he was last seen alive.
An on-scene investigation found his cause of death to be an animal attack, and an autopsy on Friday confirmed he’d been bitten by dogs.
In the days since, Animal Services units have captured six dogs in the area whose bite size match Olds’ wounds, and they are currently undergoing DNA testing to determine whether they were the ones who attacked the father and grandfather.
“While we may have the dogs that were responsible for this horrible tragedy, we won’t know for sure for a while,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said. “I want to encourage residents of Highway Park and the surrounding area to be on the lookout for any loose dogs, especially those that seem aggressive. We don’t want anyone else to be injured.”
The sheriff’s office also noted that officers have set traps in the area to help track down the canines responsible.
Olds was taking a shortcut through a wooded path when he was attacked, according to local NBC affiliate WFLA.
“I thought a dog was a man’s best friend,” his mother Cynthia Hill told the outlet. “He was a good person, a good man. Just so hurt, deeply, because it’s so unexpected.”
His fiancée Jannell Ward, meanwhile, told WFLA she had previously observed a pack of dogs lurking around their neighborhood, but saw no red flags that hinted at a violent streak.
“They growled a couple times but they never ran up to me. They never came at me or insinuated that they were going to bite me. I never got that feeling,” she said.
A GoFundMe arranged by Hill to cover funeral expenses for her son, who went by the nickname JJ, has raised more than $300.
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