Updated: 8:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 | Posted: 9:05 a.m. Friday, Feb. 7, 2014

Coroner IDs woman fatally mauled by 2 dogs



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East Bruce Street photo

NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

East Bruce homicide investigation photo
Nick Graham/Staff
East Bruce homicide investigation
East Bruce investigation photo
East Bruce investigation
Julie M. Custer photo
Courtesy/Montgomery County Jail
Julie M. Custer
Andrew L. Nason photo
Courtesy/Montgomery County Jail
Andrew L. Nason

By Breaking News Staff and Kelli Wynn and Steven Matthews

DAYTON —

Two people are under arrest in the death of a Dayton woman fatally mauled by two mixed-breed dogs Friday morning.

Dayton police were called to 31 E. Bruce Ave. shortly after 8 a.m. after receiving a report of a naked person on the sidewalk. When officers arrived, they discovered the body of the woman whose coat had been torn off. They also found two male dogs who charged, prompting officers to shoot and kill the animals.

Friday evening, the Montgomery County Coroner's Office identified the victim as Klonda S. Richey, 57. An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday morning.

The attack is believed to be the third fatal incident in 17 months in Montgomery County involving dogs and people.

Richey worked for the county for 25 years. An employee with the Montgomery County Job & Family Services' Administrative Services Division, she worked at the Haines Children's Center on North Main Street. In the wake of Friday's attack, Montgomery County Animal Control Resource Center officers removed 20 cats, which were well cared for, from Richey's home.

Complaints about the dogs had been made before. According to Mark Kumpf, Animal Resource Center director, there were nine earlier complaints about the dogs. The Dayton Daily News and News Center 7 requested the public records, but they were not available Friday.

Following the attack, police took Andrew Nason, 28, and Julie Custer, 25, into custody while executing a search warrant at 35 E. Bruce Ave., the home next door to the victim's. Nason and Custer each are being held on a charge of reckless homicide, pending the filing of formal charges.

Kumpf described the dogs as mixed-Mastiff breeds and believes each of the dogs weighed up to 60 pounds. It is unclear what the mix of the dogs is but Kumpf said he believes they are part Cane Corso.

A search of county dog license owners shows there are three dogs licensed and living in the same block as the victim. Two of those dogs, described as mixed breeds -- one tan, one red -- belong to Custer.

It is believed that the county has had three deaths related to dog attacks since 2001, according to Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County Coroner's Office. Two of those attacks occurred in separate incidents in 2012 and involved the deaths of a 76-year-old woman mauled by a Cane Corso and a 93-year-old female mauled by a Boston terrier. The third death occurred in 2001 after a 3-day-old boy was mauled by a German shepherd.

The coroner's office, in its records, does not list "dog bite" as a cause of death, Betz said.

The state does not keep track of dog bite-related fatalities, said Joanne Midla, public health veterinarian for the Ohio Department of Health. Nationally, the number of dog bite-related fatalities has ranged from 31 to 34 during the last five years, according to the National Canine Research Council.

Kumpf said any large breed dog has the potential to seriously injure or kill a person.

"Anybody who encounters a dog that they're not familiar with should try and back away from the situation," Kumpf said. "If they are not able to do so, one of the things that we recommend is that they make themselves a smaller target as possible."

News Center 7 Reporter John Bedell contributed to this report.

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