LAKE PLACID, Fla. (WFLA) – A Highlands County man was likely killed by a pack of dogs, according to autopsy results and investigations conducted by the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, the District 10 Medical Examiner and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The family of Melvin Olds Jr., 45, said he took a shortcut through a wooded path and never came home.
“I thought a dog was a man’s best friend,” said Cynthia Hill, Olds’ mother. “He was a good person, a good man. Just so hurt, deeply because it’s so unexpected.”
Olds was a father of five and a grandfather.
There were no other wounds found on his body other than the more than 100 dog bites, according to the sheriff’s office.
Olds’ fiance, Jannell Ward, has seen a pack of dogs hanging out in their neighborhood.
“They growled a couple times but they never ran up to me. They never came at me or insinuated that they were going to bite me. I never got that feeling,” she said.
“When dogs get in packs, you never know what’s going to happen,” said Lt. Clay Kinslow, with Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office laid traps in the area and picked up six stray dogs, all pit bull mixes.
Their bite sizes match Olds’ injuries but the official determination on their involvement is pending DNA testing.
Deputies are working to confirm ownership of the dogs.
A case like this is rare.
“We do work bite cases. As far as a pack of dogs that attacked somebody, we don’t have many of those cases honestly,” said Lt. Kinslow.