MARIETTA - A family dog that was shot and killed in Palmer Township on Monday night as he attacked his owner and three other family members will be sent for rabies testing, officials said Tuesday.
Bubba, a 1-year-old bull mastiff belonging to 27-year-old Trisha Miller, of 7120 Ohio 676, apparently became aggressive after Barbara Miller, 66, of the same address, tripped over the dog in the dark at the home, said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.
Barbara Miller, who sustained injuries behind her left ear and on her right arm and left shoulder, was listed in good condition at Marietta Memorial Hospital on Tuesday afternoon.
Trisha and Lillie Miller, 37, of 1384 Ohio 550, Amesville, were treated and released from the hospital. A fourth victim, Lillie's 15-year-old daughter Katherine, was bitten on a finger but not treated.
The attack occurred shortly after 9 p.m. Monday while the family was celebrating Trisha's birthday, said Mincks.
"(Barbara) was walking in the dark and stepped on him. Bubba immediately started attacking her," he said.
The other three women heard Barbara yelling for help and came to her rescue only to be attacked in turn, he said.
As the three women freed themselves from the attack and escaped into a nearby vehicle, Lillie's 13-year-old son Andrew went inside the home and retrieved a .22 Smith and Wesson semiautomatic pistol.
"He came outside and fired six or seven rounds at the dog but didn't think he hit the dog," said Mincks.
As the dog charged at him, he retreated inside and found a different gun - a .30-30 Winchester rifle- and fired a single fatal shot.
A dog attack involving four victims is unusual, said Mincks.
"I have not seen that before, a dog attacking so many people," he said.
However, Steve Herron, manager of the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley, said it would not be uncommon for a scared dog to continue attacking in a confusing situation.
"The attack could have been set off by the initial fear of the woman falling on top of him. Then the other people getting involved yelling and screaming would be confusing," he said.
Trisha Miller, who had owned the dog for eight months, told deputies that the dog had never before exhibited signs of aggression.