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Rhode Island Mother Mauled To Death By Family Dog While Having Seizure

Police said 44-year-old Melissa Astacio was having a seizure when she was attacked and killed by her family's dog.

Somerset, RI – A woman was mauled to death by her family’s pet dog on Friday while she was having a seizure.

Police said they received a 911 call that 44-year-old Melissa Astacio was having a seizure at about 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 20, WJAR reported.

The woman’s daughter, Heaven, later told police her mother was in the midst of a seizure when the family’s eight-year-old pit bull suddenly attacked.

She said Astacio’s 13-year-old granddaughter had run across the street and called for help.

Officers responded to the home on Lees River Avenue and found the dog still attacking its owner, WJAR reported.

Police used a Taser to subdue the dog in order to rescue Astacio.

Neighbor Michael Viveiros said he watched first responders carrying Astacio over their shoulders instead of waiting for a stretcher, according to WFXT

“She was bleeding pretty bad and they wanted to get her help as quick as possible,” Viveiros said.

Astacio was taken to Rhode Island Hospital where she was pronounced dead at about 6:20 p.m., WFXT reported.

The dog, whose name is “Amigo,” was put in quarantine at the Swansea Animal Rescue, WJAR reported.

Heaven said she doesn’t blame Amigo, who was adopted by the family when he was a puppy, for her mother’s death.

“I don’t think he was trying to attack her,” Heaven told WJAR. “I think the dog was just trying to help my mom but he’s just a dog and he didn’t know any better.”

Police said Heaven told them her mother had suffered seizures in front of the dog in the past and Amigo hadn’t attacked.

“The dog would just lay on the side of her and like sniff her and stuff like that. But that’s not what happened last night,” Heaven told WJAR.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident, according to WFXT.

Tom Gantert - December Tue, 2019

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