Pit Bulls Kill Woman Who Was Dog-Sitting Them, Police Say

Police said a mother of two in Oklahoma has died after what they believe was a dog attack while she was house-sitting and looking after the homeowner's dogs.

The Osage County Sheriff's Office said evidence suggests the woman was attacked and killed by two pit bulls.

Rebecca McCurdy, 28, was found dead in the garage when deputies arrived at the home located just west of Skiatook to check on her.

Deputies said there were several pit bulls caged in the garage and one cage was toppled over.

Oklahoma's News On 6 reported the homeowner told deputies he raises the dogs as a hobby as well as for sale.

The Oklahoma state medical examiner's office has yet to determine the official cause of death.

According to Oklahoma's KTUL, investigators said there were several signs of a dog attack.

The dogs were immediately taken into custody by animal welfare and are being held as the investigation in the death continues, deputies said.

As well as two young children, the deceased woman also leaves behind a husband, said her cousin, as reported by KTUL.

Newsweek has contacted the Osage County Sheriff's Office and Oklahoma's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for comment.

According to National Pit Bull Victim Awareness (NPBVA), which advocates for over 70 organizations and other groups in the U.S. and Canada for victims of pit bull attacks, pit bulls killed 31 people in the first nine months of last year.

The NPBVA said in the same period 16 people were killed by their own family pit bulls.

Speaking to Newsweek, Sara Ondrako, a certified dog behavior consultant who is the founder and CEO of the American Pit Bull Foundation, explained: "Pit bull-type dogs are innately no more likely to bite or attack humans, in fact, quite the opposite. They have been selectively bred over centuries to be human-friendly, despite also being bred for some dog-aggressive traits.

Ondrako said pit bulls, which consist of four separate breeds, are often misidentified and confused with several other dogs, most frequently mutts, and "the statistics on these attacks are skewed because of that."

Addressing the latest incident in Oklahoma, Ondrako told Newsweek: "In this very unfortunate tragedy, the blood is on the hands of the owner of these several dogs that were not provided for—that were caged up in a garage and used for making money rather than cared for as family companions, as we've bred them to be.

"These animals are sentient beings that have needs. Not providing for those needs and simply seeing them as a source of income is naturally going to lead to serious problems.

"Our thoughts go out to the family of the mother involved in this horrific and preventable attack," she added.

Pit bulls are descendants of the original English bull-baiting dog, which were bred to bite and hold bulls, bears and other large animals around the face and head," according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

In the 1800s, baiting large animals was outlawed and people turned to fighting dogs against each other.

The ASPCA says: "Some pit bulls were selected and bred for their fighting ability. That means that they may be more likely than other breeds to fight with dogs. It doesn't mean that they can't be around other dogs or that they're unpredictably aggressive.

"Other pit bulls were specifically bred for work and companionship. These dogs have long been popular family pets, noted for their gentleness, affection and loyalty. And even those pit bulls bred to fight other animals were not prone to aggressiveness toward people," the ASPCA explained.

Update 6/23/21: This article was updated with comment from the American Pit Bull Foundation.

Correction 6/24/21: The file image used in this article was replaced.

A pit bull in New York City.
A pit bull seen at the NYC ASPCA Adoption Center in October 2015 in New York City. Police say a woman in Oklahoma died Saturday after what they believe to be was an attack by two pit bulls. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images