Dog owners charged in death of woman attacked by pit bulls while taking a walk

The Associated Press
Friday July 12, 2002

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — A couple was charged with manslaughter in the dog mauling death of a woman who police believe was attacked by the couple’s three pit bull terriers. 

A sheriff’s dispatcher said Thursday the dogs’ owners, Carl and Kim Smith, were charged with felony manslaughter in Pope County Circuit Court last month. They were released Friday on $5,000 bond, the dispatcher said. 

The charges came after an investigation into the Oct. 13, 2001, death of Carolyn Shatswell, 50, whose body was found in woods near the Smiths’ home. 

Shatswell, who had been staying with a friend who lived nearby, was taking a walk when she was attacked, investigators said. 

According to court records, an autopsy found Shatswell had multiple bites to her face, torso, arms and legs and died from blood loss. After the dogs were euthanized, an expert compared the wounds to the dogs’ teeth and concluded the dogs were responsible. 

Investigators said neighbors had complained the dogs were violent. 

There is no telephone listing for the Smiths, and their attorney was not immediately available early Thursday. 

Manslaughter is punishable by three to 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. 

The case recalls the dog-mauling case against San Francisco dog owners Marjorie Knoller and her husband, Robert Noel, in the death of neighbor Diane Whipple. Knoller is awaiting sentencing for involuntary manslaughter after her murder conviction was overturned. Her husband was sentenced to four years in prison, also for involuntary manslaughter.