Rhode Island Mother Mauled To Death By Family Dog While Having Seizure

Tom Gantert

Police said 44-year-old Melissa Astacio was having a seizure when she was attacked and killed by her family's dog.

Somerset, RI – A woman was mauled to death by her family’s pet dog on Friday while she was having a seizure.

Police said they received a 911 call that 44-year-old Melissa Astacio was having a seizure at about 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 20, WJAR reported.

The woman’s daughter, Heaven, later told police her mother was in the midst of a seizure when the family’s eight-year-old pit bull suddenly attacked.

She said Astacio’s 13-year-old granddaughter had run across the street and called for help.

Officers responded to the home on Lees River Avenue and found the dog still attacking its owner, WJAR reported.

Police used a Taser to subdue the dog in order to rescue Astacio.

Neighbor Michael Viveiros said he watched first responders carrying Astacio over their shoulders instead of waiting for a stretcher, according to WFXT

“She was bleeding pretty bad and they wanted to get her help as quick as possible,” Viveiros said.

Astacio was taken to Rhode Island Hospital where she was pronounced dead at about 6:20 p.m., WFXT reported.

The dog, whose name is “Amigo,” was put in quarantine at the Swansea Animal Rescue, WJAR reported.

Heaven said she doesn’t blame Amigo, who was adopted by the family when he was a puppy, for her mother’s death.

“I don’t think he was trying to attack her,” Heaven told WJAR. “I think the dog was just trying to help my mom but he’s just a dog and he didn’t know any better.”

Police said Heaven told them her mother had suffered seizures in front of the dog in the past and Amigo hadn’t attacked.

“The dog would just lay on the side of her and like sniff her and stuff like that. But that’s not what happened last night,” Heaven told WJAR.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident, according to WFXT.

Comments (89)
Det_John_Kimble
Det_John_Kimble

I knew it would be a pit bull....

No. 1-36
Anomie88
Anomie88

Gee, a pit bull. Who would have guessed?

Bobby1874
Bobby1874

"I don't blame the dog" WTF ? And like the posters I knew pit bull before the story said it...

Ferret guy
Ferret guy

How can you NOT blame the dog, fkn moron. Must be a liberal

Janken
Janken

This was a PIT BULL. Good dog but dangerous. If I had young kids, old kids anyone I wouldnt have one. Dangerous

SecurityK9
SecurityK9

Why is this family being given a choice as to whether this proven killer is permitted to continue to live in a family community?

There have been 4 people killed this week by Pit Bulls. Where is the media on that? Where is the national outcry?

ScaleriBrosLawyer
ScaleriBrosLawyer

Pitbull. Shocker.

Mmr Bruce
Mmr Bruce

All the ignorant people blaming the breed are pretty simple minded

BindareDundat
BindareDundat

Saw headline and thought pit, I was right, again!

flybynight
flybynight

Hood dog.

DNW
DNW

Pit bull attack is a hellish matter. You are torn apart chunk by chunk starting with your face if the dog can reach it. Can be as wonderful a pet as any dog, but here's the catch: unpredictable, and with the physical equipment and psycological makeup to inflict catastrophic damage.

Dman33
Dman33

You ignorant morans. Blame it on a breed you know nothing about. Simple minded turds.

K9ReddyMom
K9ReddyMom

How tragic for all including this dog, what could have triggered this will probably never be solved..Prayers for her family.

Fm2176
Fm2176

I've got a Cur and a Retriever, don't foresee them killing me. Unless they get Cujo syndrome. My Lab dislikes pit bull looking dogs for a reason... he's been attacked by them (but always comes out on top).

TXbird-mom
TXbird-mom

Before blaming the dog, who had been with this woman during seizures before, how about finding out what was different this time. What started the biting? Did she hit him in the middle of the seizure? There must have been a trigger. I feel so sorry for this family. Will keep them in my thoughts.

Scattered
Scattered

I just dont trust them. My sisters boyfriend abandoned his dog at her house. Altho a very sweet loving dog it barks at nothing and has growled at me for no reason and has her too. She spoils her but she growls at her too sometimes and it scares me to death. She does it for no reason or if we argue a little she is bad. I wouldnt own one.

bryantrent
bryantrent

Don't like Pitbulls

TrueAmerican
TrueAmerican

Dear God what a heartbreaker at Christmas too? Prayers to the family 🙏🏼💕

Steve326m
Steve326m

Sorry this horrible death happened. RIP. BTW: Side Note: Somerset is in MA not RI.

whatalways3parts1
whatalways3parts1

From Puppy to 8yrs= Family pet, Damn !!!!!!!

There's got to be More to the story. ??

gfc1963
gfc1963

So sad.

Mo_
Mo_

Horrific beyond words. Stop telling me these dogs are harmless. (I've already started seeing the stupid comments.)

jarhead24
jarhead24

Been in law Enforcement for 30 years in a major city. 90 percent of all dog attacks I witnessed were pit bulls. Natural born killers. They attack their owners, other animals, kids and strangers. Pits are beautiful dogs but dangerous.

ikaika
ikaika

There are service dogs who are trained to detect when a person with epilepsy is about to have a seizure. The dog will alert the owner, who will quickly lie down or get into a safe place. It's a life-changer for those people.

I wonder if those same electrical changes in the owner's brain are what sets these pit bulls off to attack the owner.

MyRottiesandme
MyRottiesandme

I am not a fan of dog breed discrimination. Put the dog down and be done with it. The insinuations of these people are evil.

TheHammer
TheHammer

The only way I'd own a pit bull is if HCD was my roommate. Then I'd train the dog to only like dark meat.

Trefflek
Trefflek

Guys who hunt wild pigs with dogs use pit bulls for a reason. They are killers! Ask anyone of those pig hunters if they would ever have a pit bull as a pet and the answer is the same 100% of the time. Hell no!

5150
5150

Gee, big surprise. Another Pit attack...

CSImom
CSImom

Poor family. Poor dog. Pit haters f off. Got one. The only thing she attacks is yard tools and tires. Say the word baby and she whines and looks for a baby. Be it cat, dog or human. She whines at people she sees walking down the street if she's riding in the car because she wants their attention. Doesn't care about gender or color. She loves people and babies.

Rdwaryer63
Rdwaryer63

Dogbites.org conducted a 13 year study between 2005 and 2017 involving fatal dog attacks. Pit Bulls as a recognized breed were responsible for killing 284 people, which accounted for 66% of the fatalities, despite the breed only representing 6.5% of the total U.S. population. The breed in second place was the Rottweiler with 45 recorded deaths. Those defending Pit Bulls may have one that is non-aggressive but these statistics without question show the breed is the most aggressive and dangerous breed in the U.S. An average of almost 22 deaths PER YEAR cannot be disputed or overlooked.

HikerJohn
HikerJohn

In the 12-year period of 2005 through 2016, canines killed 392 Americans. Pit bulls contributed to 65% (254) of these deaths. Combined, pit bulls and Rottweiler's contributed to 76% of the total recorded deaths.

hitmantra
hitmantra

my daughter has a pit and the pup is a pussycat pit are a decent pup its the damn owners that make them vicious the owners of bad pups are the guilty ones not the breed ….. remember pups do not have thumbs so the only way they can grab is with there mouths only and the pup was scared and didn't know whet was going on at the time he most likely tried to hold her from moving and with her thrashing around she probably tore her skin on his teeth that doesn't mean he was attacking her

BlueberryPitbull
BlueberryPitbull

Here come all the pitbull hating nutjobs. Any dog can bite. Pits get unneeded hate. The media never says anything about breed when other breeds bite. You are more likely to be bitten by a Golden or a Labrador. No dog bites without a reason. There are key points missing here. I proudly advocate for pitties. They are the best dogs. Also too... the media doesn't even have a picture of this so called pitbull. The majority of the time it was never a pit who bit. It is usually another breed mislabeled. The media is biased and corrupt.


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