71-year-old mauled to death by pack of dogs remembered as 'joyful' and 'full of life'

Rosie Nguyen Image
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
Man killed in dog attack remembered as 'joyful' and 'full of life'
A family is mourning the loss of a 71-year-old man, who was mauled to death by a pack of pit bulls as he walked to the corner store.

FRESNO, Texas (KTRK) -- A family is mourning the loss of a 71-year-old man, who investigators say was mauled to death by a pack of pit bulls while walking to the corner store Monday afternoon.

Fort Bend County Animal Services confirmed they now have all seven dogs in custody, after capturing the final three a day later.

Surveillance video obtained by ABC13 showed the victim walking down Mark Terrance Lane near Renfro-Burford Road, before a pack of dogs viciously attacked him. Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan said the man died after being taken by Life Flight to the hospital. They are investigating another incident that happened on Friday, but are not sure if the two cases are related.

SEE ALSO: Animal control captures remaining pit bulls from attack that killed 71-year-old man in Fresno area

"He did nothing to provoke these animals. It was uncalled for. It was senseless," Fagan said. "This is a tragic incident being mauled by dogs. I can't say how sorry I am for what happened."

The victim was identified as Freddy Garcia by his granddaughter, Ivon Fajardo and brother, Jorge Garcia. They shared that he was someone who brought a lot of joy to others.

"He was youthful. He was full of life. He liked to dance. He liked to sing. He was really joyful," Fajardo said in Spanish. "We would get together on the weekend and enjoy each other's company. Now, that he's not here. It's not going to be the same."

Neighbors said Freddy Garcia walked to the corner store often and are extremely rattled after hearing something so violent could happen near their home.

"I'm concerned. I don't want any kids to be out. Nobody should be out with dogs running loose like that," neighbor Tracie Gregory said.

On Tuesday afternoon, ABC13 was there when Fort Bend County Animal Services showed up at the house across the street and captured the remaining three pit bulls that were still on the loose. The man living there, Joey Cartwright, claimed the dogs do not belong to him and that he called animal control as soon as he spotted them on his property -- two of which he said still had blood on them.

"There's 20 dogs around here right now. If you drive down this back street, there will be 20 loose dogs running around," Cartwright said. "People just dump them around here. The dogs go wherever they can find food."

Officers said neighbors can rest a little easier tonight but warn the public to still be careful when going outside.

"Protect yourselves. If you're walking in the streets, carry a stick. We all love dogs. But a lot of them can be dangerous," Kevin Aguilar with Fort Bend County Animal Services said.

Investigators are still working to find out whether these pit bulls were strays. Freddy Garcia's family members said if they belong to someone, they want the owner to be held responsible.

"I don't wish this on anybody, because nobody deserves to die this way," Jorge Garcia said.

Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton said if the dogs do have an owner, that person faces a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The enhancement comes from "Lillian's Law," named after Lillian Stiles, who died in 2005 from a similar attack.

"If you have a dangerous dog, it is your responsibility to keep that dog secure, to keep the members in our community safe," Middleton said.

Submit a tip or story idea to ABC13

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story you think we should cover? Send it to ABC13 using the form below. If you have a video or photo to send, terms of use apply. If you don't, just hit 'skip upload' and send the details.

For more on this story, follow Rosie Nguyen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.