Fatal Dog Attack Victim's Son Seeks Answers; Police Search For Canines Traveling In Packs
A pack of dogs that attacked and killed a Jackson County man still haven't been captured as investigators gather more evidence and the victim’s son seeks closure.
Donald Allen, 65, was last seen alive walking along a dirt road about five miles away from his Bascom home at around 10 p.m. last Tuesday, according to the Jackson County’s Sheriff’s Office. Police say a neighbor’s girlfriend alerted authorities after she found Allen’s corpse lying in the road at 7 a.m. the next day.
Investigators are still working to piece together what happened during the nine hours in between. They’ve ruled out the possibility that Allen was a victim of a coyote attack - based on tracks at the scene and the shape of the bite marks on the victim’s body. But they’re not sure if he was attacked by a pack of stray dogs or someone’s pets.
“How was my dad not able to get help? He was right in front of someone’s house, and no one heard him?” said Allen's 25-year-old son Donald "Chase" Allen. “There are still a lot of unanswered questions in regards to how he even got there and what led him to that compromised position.”
Allen says his father worked construction and could’ve gotten a ride home from one of his coworkers, but investigators say they still don’t know who dropped Allen off on Kirkland Road or why they left him five miles from his home after dark.
They also don’t know what could’ve provoked the attack.
“I’m not ruling any dog out in that area right now,” said Will Crisp, investigator at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. “It was probably a pack effort, based on the injuries to the body and the tracks at the scene. It appeared to have been more than one dog.”
Crisp is the lead detective on the case.
“I’m going to go through that area and make contact with everybody that I can tell has a dog in the yard and see if I can get some swabs from those dogs to compare to the swabs and the hair samples that we took off the clothing of the victim.”
Crisp says police believe the likeliest scenario is that the dogs that attacked Allen are owner-less and still roaming.
“A lady was riding a four-wheeler in that same area and saw a group of six dogs that she didn’t recognize,” Crisp said. “I’ve got other photographs of a pack of seven or eight dogs that are seen coming through a hunter’s property where he had a tree stand and a deer feeder up, and they were caught on game camera.”
He says animal control officers set traps in the area last week, but they hadn’t caught any dogs as of Monday afternoon.
Police have sent DNA swabs from bite marks on Allen’s body and hair samples from his clothes to a lab at the University of Florida.
They expect it will take two weeks at the earliest for those results to come back.
Allen’s son Donald "Chase" Allen says his family won’t have closure until the dogs responsible have been captured and put down.
“The last words we said to each other were ‘I love you’ and 'I love you, too.’ And we hugged before we went our separate ways,” Allen said. “That was just a few days ago, and it just seems like nothing in the world could’ve prepared me or even him. No one expects to die like that. No one plans for it, and there’s no way to [plan for it].”
Allen’s family has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for his funeral expenses.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is discouraging residents from walking alone at night - particularly in the Bascom area.
Police are urging residents to report any sightings of a pack of stray dogs to animal control at 850-718-0021.
Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the sheriff's office at 850-482-9648.