A day after a Maryland woman apparently was mauled to death by her recently adopted pit bull, her sister defended the category of dogs and said the victim wanted to help the animal.
Robin Conway died after she was found with "significant injuries" on Labor Day outside her home in Columbia, Maryland, Howard County police said Tuesday. A family member found Conway injured at the home on Tamar Drive about 7:20 p.m., police said. The dog was standing over her.
The person who found Conway was her husband, Conway's sister Susan Eve LeClair told WBAL, Baltimore's NBC station. He tied up the dog and called 911. When police and paramedics arrived, the dog was "barking and lunging on the leash," police said.
Conway was pronounced dead at the scene. She was 64 and was an avid animal lover who wanted to give a home to an animal in need, her sister told WBAL.
"This was one animal she thought she could save, one animal that needed to be rescued, and the animal, unfortunately, killed her," LeClair said Tuesday.
She didn't blame pit bulls as a whole; she blamed the dog that attacked.
"There was something wrong, obviously, with this particular dog," LeClair said. "That is not to be taken as something to be held against all pit bulls or pit bull mixes, because there's some lovely ones out there."
The pit bull category of animals encompasses several breeds of muscular, block-headed dogs, including American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and American bulldogs.
Pit bulls are banned in neighboring Prince George's County, as well as in many apartment buildings and homeowners associations across the D.C. area. Entire rescue organizations in the region are devoted to finding homes for pit bulls.
Animal control officers subdued the animal. It later was euthanized. A necropsy of the dog will be performed to determine if it had rabies or other medical issues.
Conway had adopted the pit bull from out of state just two weeks earlier.
A medical examiner will determine her cause of death.
Animal control had not previously been called about any problems with the animal. Information on its breed and size was not released. Also, police said they do not have information on from where the pit bull was adopted.