HOUSTON — Houston police are investigating after they said a woman was possibly attacked and killed by her dogs Friday at her home in southwest Houston.
A preliminary investigation indicated 48-year-old Tiffany L. Frangione let her two dogs out in the backyard at her home in the 12400 block of Rockampton Drive. When the dogs got outside, they started fighting with the neighbor's dogs through the fence, police said.
Police believe Frangione tried to intervene in the dog fight and was possibly attacked by her own dogs. She was found dead in her backyard with puncture wounds to her neck, HPD said.
“This makes me very sad happening to anyone – and somebody in our own neighborhood, that’s even worse," Kelia Ballou, a neighbor, said.
At this time, the investigation is pending as police await to confirm Frangione's cause of death. An autopsy is underway.
The City of Houston's BARC Animal Shelter has confirmed they have the dogs that were involved in the attack. They were turned over by Frangione's husband Friday.
The dogs are a female, 5-year-old Alaskan husky mix and a male Cane Corso mix.
They are scheduled to be euthanized Monday.
Police ask anyone who may have information on this incident to please call the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600.
Dog bites are not rare in the United States. The CDC reports about 4.5 million per year with 370,000 ending up in trips to the emergency room.
In 2019, KHOU 11 News covered at least two fatal attacks; a man killed by his family’s dogs in Galveston County, according to the sheriff’s office, and a woman reportedly killed in north Houston by her neighbor’s dog.
However, deadly attacks are rare. The CDC estimates about 16 yearly.
HP Parvizian owns Sit Means Sit Dog Training and said dog aggression is a common concern for his clients.
“We rehabilitate behavioral issues and work with aggression,” Parvizian said. “What to look for in the dog. ... The eyes, the body language, they are telling you, 'I am uncomfortable.'"
He offers this advice on two common situations.
No. 1: What to do if face to face with an aggressive dog:
“The number one thing not to do is scream or run. Look for objects (like a purse, backpack, pillow or broom) you can use as barriers. So, now once they bite that, you have time to kind of move toward a car or someplace safe.”
No. 2 is what to do if your dog is fighting with another dog. Parvizian said to stay away:
“You are going to cause more injury and conflict to yourself. We don’t want one injury to become two or three.”
Parvizian said training is important for both dogs and people.
“A lot of times the dogs are making decisions because they are uncomfortable, and often, they go on the offensive. You have to watch your dog and see how your dog’s mood is. They don’t want to be hugged a lot of the time.”
He said owners need to understand their dog’s cues and realize their pets aren’t people.
“Never trust your dog. Even my dogs aren’t alone with my kids.”
Sit Means Sit offers free consultations with people and their dogs which includes an evaluation. For more information, click here.