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‘Very out of character’: Witness saw pit bull dragging woman by neck in fatal mauling

Updated August 10, 2022 - 5:20 pm

Something caused Buck the pit bull to snap. He was usually right beside Joan Cafflel, fiercely protective of her.

On Tuesday morning, Buck killed Cafflel, dragging her by the neck from her bedroom and into another bedroom, said shaken caregiver Gelena Kelly, who saw the attack unfolding, then hid in a bedroom until police arrived after seeing a crazed look in Buck’s eyes, fearing she would be next.

“Very out of character,” Kelly said Wednesday.

Kelly and Cafflel’s grandson Peyton Faircloth are baffled. The dog slept beside Cafflel and would even participate in Cafflel’s morning exercises with Kelly, lying on his back and dancing with his paws in the air, Kelly said. He was gentle and friendly, they said.

Faircloth, 39, who lived with Cafflel, Kelly, and his son in the apartment at 4124 Pennwood Ave. between Valley View Boulevard and Arville Street, was also stunned Wednesday.

“Buck didn’t have a mean bone in his body,” Faircloth said, adding that his grandmother was 89 and was still sweet and generous despite her dementia.

“You know all the stories about people with dementia, how they’re ornery or aggressive,” Faircloth said. “My grandma was completely opposite of that. Every word out of her mouth was ‘sweetheart, ‘babe.’”

Kelly was making coffee at about 8 a.m. when she walked out of the kitchen briefly to check on Cafflel, and she saw the dog pulling Cafflel by her neck.

“Once I saw that,” Kelly said, “I was hysterical, and I’m like ‘Buck! Buck!’”

She called Faircloth, who said Kelly was screaming into the phone that Buck was killing grandma.

“It was a bloodbath,” Faircloth said, standing in the bedroom doorway where Buck had dragged his grandmother.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas police said they don’t anticipate making any arrests in the fatal mauling.

The dog was initially taken into the custody of the city by Animal Protective Services and is now housed at The Animal Foundation, according to city spokesman Jace Radke.

Hadfield said the fate of the dog would be up to animal control investigators.

“Whether they will put the dog down is dependent on their criteria,” Hadfield said.

Radke said the death remains under investigation.

“Once the investigation is complete they will make a determination as to whether the dog is dangerous,” Radke said.

Faircloth, who said his late mother had adopted Buck from Atlanta, Ga., six years ago, driving across the country to get him, is hoping against hope to get Buck back. Because Buck was a rescue dog, they don’t know his age.

“It’s bad but he’s a dog and he doesn’t understand what he’s doing,” Faircloth said.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com or 561-324-6421. Follow @BrettClarkson_ on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Glenn Puit contributed to this report.

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