A Florida family has mourned the tragic death of Melvin Olds Jr., a 45-year-old man, who disappeared on July 4 after taking a shortcut to get home. Local authorities discovered his mutilated corpse after a fierce attack by a pack of dogs. The body had more than 100 bites.
According to the Highlands County Sheriff's Office, the coroner's 10th district and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the father of five children took a shortcut through a forested area but never made it to his home.
His body was found that same Thursday near Lake Placid and had 100 dog bites, the sheriff's office reported. So far, six dogs have been caught with traps that were set by the local animal service.
The ownerless dogs were pit bull mixes. The size of his jaws corresponds to that of the bites found on Olds' body, the sheriff's office confirms in reports from the local WFLA network.
"That does not mean that these are the animals involved in the attack," Paul Blackman, the town's sheriff, said in a statement. "Although we may have in our possession the dogs responsible for this horrible tragedy, we will not know for a while."
Jannell Ward, the victim's girlfriend, assured the chain that they had seen a pack of dogs hanging around the neighborhood. "They growled at me a few times but never ran towards me," the woman explained. “They never came to me or insinuated that they were going to bite me. I never had that feeling."
Clay Kinslow, a Highlands County lieutenant claimed that bite attacks are rarely reported in the area, however he admitted the danger of some animals. "When dogs get together in packs, you never know what might happen."
Relatives of the deceased opened a page on GoFundMe requesting help for the Olds funeral, calling the event an "unfortunate family event." "Any help you can give us will be truly appreciated from the bottom of my heart."
For his part, Blackman urged the local population to remain alert in the event that they find dogs wandering around the area. "I want to encourage Highway Park residents to be on the lookout for loose dogs, especially those that appear aggressive," he exclaimed. "We don't want anyone else to be hurt."