New details emerge in deadly Davie County dog attack, woman retrieving mail when attacked

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DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. -- The dog who killed a Davie County woman Monday night near Cooleemee had a history of attacking other dogs and going through people’s trash -- but had no history of attacking humans, authorities said.

The dog, a pit bull named Patch, had been declared a “nuisance animal” from a previous incident in May 2015, when the dog left the owner’s property and got into a fight with another dog. The owner, Latisha Young, of 249 Clark Road, was charged with failure to have her dog vaccinated for rabies.

Young usually kept the dog in her home but on Monday a storm rolled through the Cooleemee area. Davie County Sheriff Andy Stokes said that may have riled the dog and caused it to escape from home through a window while Young was not at home.

The deceased female had just stepped outside and was walking towards her mailbox when she was attacked. She has been identified as 48-year-old Cathy H. Wheatcraft, of 243 Clark Road.

After Wheatcraft was attacked, someone nearby called emergency officials.

“When I got out here she was just laying on her stomach; she had her hands above her head and her shirt was pulled up,” said neighbor Sheena Truesdale, 31, who soon became a second victim.

“I was like ‘Patch, go home,’ and he didn’t pay attention to me, he went on licking on the lady,” Truesdale said.

Patch then charged at Truesdale.

“That’s when he caught my shoulder. He caught my shoulder, I fell. When I fell over here, that’s when he caught my leg and we were fighting. I got him off my leg, I got up and [as] I’m trying to get to the car I’m asking everybody to help me, everybody’s running away,” Truesdale said.

A Cooleemee police officer arrived and shot and killed the dog.

“If it wasn’t for the cop shooting him, there wouldn’t have been any pulling him off,” Truesdale said. “If you’d have pulled him, he’d have pulled the rest of my arm off.”

Truesdale said Patch was a good dog and she had no idea why it attacked; a testament which was echoed by Young’s mother, Frances Tyson.

“I got a call and it said that Patch had broken out the house and killed a lady,” Tyson said. “When I pulled up and I saw all the ambulances and stuff I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’ I said, ‘It’s true.’”

“Something caused him to snap, they don’t know what it was,” Tyson said. “I just pray that the Lord just touch each and every one that’s involved.”

No charges have been filed. The investigation is ongoing.