RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A criminal investigation into a dog attack that resulted in the death of an 88-year-old Richmond woman has come to the conclusion that no felony charges will be placed against the dog’s owner.
At around 6:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 7, Evangeline Brooks, 88, was attacked by a 6-year-old pit bull after she called out to her neighbor from a nearby yard on Alaska Drive.
The Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said the dog’s owner, Tracey Hicks, was startled at the greeting because it was dark outside and, due to her reaction, the dog suddenly attacked Brooks. The dog had on a shock collar but was not on a leash at the time of the attack.
Hicks was issued five summonses, including:
- Dog without breeder’s permit.
- Nuisance dog.
- Dog without a city license.
- Dog without a current rabies vaccination
- Unrestrained dog.
All of these charges are lower-level misdemeanors that do not hold Hicks responsible for Brooks’ death.
“What they’ve essentially charged her with are summonses, which means she wasn’t even arrested and they’re all largely technical violations,” said 8News’ legal analyst, Russ Stone.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said there was no knowledge that the dog was vicious, and therefore the city felt no further criminal or felony charges were necessary.
“Sometimes really horrible things happen, sometimes really tragic things happen. Just because a tragedy occurs does not mean a crime has occurred,” Stone said.
According to Richmond police, the dog was surrendered into Richmond Animal Care and Control custody directly after the attack and was immediately euthanized.
If Hicks is found guilty of all five misdemeanor charges, at a maximum penalty of $250 each, she could face a total penalty of $1,250. Hicks is expected to appear in court on Nov. 30.