Man charged in Christmas Eve pit bull attack


The owner of two pit bulls that attacked a Kentucky couple on Christmas Eve, killing the wife, has been arrested for “harboring a vicious animal,” according to police.

Bell County deputies have identified Johnny Dale Lankford, 42, as the owner of the two vicious dogs that “savagely attacked” Lorraine Saylor, 66, and husband Johnny in front of their home in Arjay, Kentucky, on Sunday morning. Lankford was the couple’s neighbor.

According to a report from Fox News, Johnny Saylor was attacked when he stepped outside to look for his wife. Another neighbor, James Saylor, Johnny’s brother, heard the commotion and was able to distract the dogs long enough for Johnny to go into the house and retrieve a .22 caliber pistol.

When he returned, the wounded husband shot one of the dogs to death. The second dog was also hit, but it ran away and eventually returned the next morning. Deputies and an animal control officer put the dog down on Monday.

It turned out that Lankford had already being held at the Bell County Jail since Friday, on separate charges of assault, domestic violence, unlawful imprisonment and as the result of an outstanding warrant. He was informed of the charges regarding his killer dogs on Monday.

Records show Lankford was still locked up Tuesday in lieu of $25,000 bond.

Lorraine Saylor died after suffering massive injuries to her neck, face and shoulder in the attack, WYMT-TV reported.

“They had my brother halfway out the door, chewing on his arm,” James Saylor told the station. The elderly man was bitten on his head, arm and hand.

James Saylor said he knew the dogs. “I’d seen them, but I didn’t think they’d be mean like that,” he told the station.

Bell County Coroner Jay Steele recalled knowing the Saylors for nearly 30 years. “They were just a super nice couple and I can’t even begin to put myself in his shoes. It’s overwhelming, the circumstances and what he found,” Steele told the station, referring to Johnny.

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