Barbados: Woman killed by 5 pit bulls

Barbados Today:-What began as a normal, quiet Saturday morning quickly turned to tragedy for the residents of Monroe Road, Haggatt Hall, St Michael today.

Seventy-four-year-old Verona Gibson, a retired nurse of the Sir Winston Scott Polyclinic, was mauled to death by five pit bulls around 5:30 this morning, on her way to clean the St Barnabas Anglican Church.

Three of the dogs were owned by a resident in the neighbourhood. However, it was not immediately clear who owned the other two.

Gibson was attacked a mere stone’s throw from her home. She received multiple bites to her body and succumbed to her injuries on the scene.

Fellow resident, 30-year-old Damien McCollin came to her rescue after hearing a ruckus outside. He was also attacked by the dogs and subsequently rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment of several bites, including a severed piece of his toe.

When Barbados TODAY arrived at the scene after 8 a.m. a crowd of neighbours and other onlookers had gathered at the scene. Gibson’s body was lying at the roadside, covered with a white sheet and surrounded by three police vehicles.

A distraught Judy Gibson was overwhelmed by news of the death of her beloved aunt. She told Barbados TODAY she usually accompanied Gibson to clean the church where they were active parishioners. The duo would walk from their Haggatt Hall homes to the nearby house of worship.

“We were very close . . . . We clean the place for people that belong to the church, do everything.

“When they have fairs, she gets the vegetables, we weigh them out,” said Judy, adding that  “this year is going to be a sad year for our fair and the old people’s home we helped out”.

This morning, the 64-year-old niece was faced with the gruesome task of informing other family members of Gibson’s tragic passing.

“I broke down and cried,” she said. “You imagine a pit bull destroying a woman’s life, so early in the morning?”

Overcome with anger and grief, Judy maintained that something had to be done with the dogs involved.

“It doesn’t matter what anybody say, because they are out to kill somebody. They are killing sheep, goat, anything that they find. They are looking for blood, so they need to get rid of them.

“Look how a person going to clean a church this morning and a dog destroyed their whole life. Do you know what is a human life? You cannot bring back a life. They need to do something . . . something has to be done,” she insisted.

Judy revealed that Gibson had only returned to the island on Sunday after visiting her daughter in Florida.

“She is a very nice woman, anybody can tell you,” she said, adding, “all the church members calling at my house crying and crying.”

Also struck by the elderly woman’s death was Reverend Mark Harewood of the St Barnabas Church, who remembered Gibson as a faithful member.

“She decided . . . to come straight back out on Saturday and do what she was accustomed doing on Saturday, which is preparing the church and getting it ready for service tomorrow morning,” he said, adding that Gibson’s death was “a great loss to our church”.

“The pain itself of that kind of attack, it very distressing to me personally and the church as a whole,” he said.

Meanwhile police spokesman Inspector Roland Cobbler said one of the owners of the five dogs was assisting lawmen with their investigations.

He also reminded dog owners that they were responsible for ensuring that their animals were properly secured.

“Strict liability is outlined in the Dogs (Licensing and Control Act) Chapter 177. Section 12, subsection (1) clearly states that an owner of a dog shall not: (a) permit that dog to be in any public place unless it is kept on a lead or leash,” Cobbler reminded in a statement issued this afternoon.


Her family members were huddled together at a neighbouring house, praying and sobbing.


  1. Craig brown
    January 29, 2017 at 2:39 am

    Shouldn’t. Be legal. Ban them

    1. Anonymous
      January 31, 2017 at 1:53 am

      the dogs are not born to kill they are very loyal and caring if they aren’t trained to kill or attack. have you seen how many people labradors have killed or injured?

      1. Anonymous
        January 31, 2017 at 4:39 pm

        I agree because I had a Pitt bull who died from cancer but was a kind, loving, gentle dog. If a Pitt bull is trained right it can be the most loyal creature on the planet. Pitt bulls can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

      2. Anonymous
        April 29, 2017 at 3:04 pm

        And then they can just suddenly attack and kill someone. All Pitt bull kissers say what you say- to the Police.

  2. Merritt Clifton
    January 29, 2017 at 4:12 am

    Since 1982 we have logged and analyzed fatal and disfiguring dog attacks throughout the U.S. and Canada, more recently adding logs specific to India, the United Kingdom, and South Africa. In every nation the data is strikingly similar: pit bulls, pit mixes, pit variants such as the “American bully,” and closely related breeds such as the bull mastiff, Presa Canario, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasiliero account for 80%-plus of fatal and disfiguring attacks. This is no surprise, because historically these breeds have been bred specifically for fighting, and farther back ancestrally, to guard slaves and wage war.

    You may read the latest data pertaining to dog attacks on humans, complete through 2016, when 91% of human death and disfigurement victims were injured by pit bulls, at:

    The complete statistics, 1982-present, showing that over the past 34 years, 88% of the human victims of fatal or disfiguring dog attacks were injured by pit bulls and their closest canine relatives, are here:

    The data pertaining to dog attacks on other animals, 2013-present, showing that 87% of the dogs who kill or badly injure other animals are pit bulls, are here:

  3. Sabrina
    January 29, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Put all of the dogs down. Nighty night monsters. Legislate or ban the breed(s) as needed. Then lock up then idiots that continue to endanger society like this. Maybe just keep these dogs in an enclosure and throw idiots that own them in to face the music. SOOOOOOOOOOO INCREDIBLY SICK TO MY STOMACHE having to see this happen over and over again.

  4. Anonymous
    January 29, 2017 at 11:57 am

    I’m saddened to hear of this tragedy that should have never happened, may her should Rest In Peace and her family finds comfort by knowing God is still on his throne.

  5. Debbie Bell
    January 29, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    We need new laws that will make more dog owners/ dog users/ handlers care enough to keep their dogs and our communities safe and prevent dog attacks in the first place.

    Those who truly care about all dog well-being also care that attacking dogs suffer from human neglect, lack of education about dog breed traits, and failure of the owners to manage and contain their dogs for everyone’s safety.

    It’s wrong that many dog owners laugh about their escape artist doggies, with no concern for the potential dangerous interaction with neighbors, passersby (pets/people), or traffic? All dogs are at risk when they get loose.

    We need SEVERE PUNISHMENTS, but prisons are overcrowded already, and too expensive as well.

    Fines alone aren’t working as the wealthy simply pay them and the poor simply don’t.

    Here’s an idea for an affordable, breed neutral law that, if publicized and enforced, will help.

    Call a severe and fatal dog attack on dogs, zoo and farm animals, humans, or on cats away from the dog’s property, what it is:

    Immediately remove all dogs from the suspect owner/handler’s property and control.

    Found guilty, ban ALL the dog’s OWNERS, HANDLERS, USERS from ANY dog ownership for LIFE.

    Severe punishment, if publicized and enforced, will make dog owners/ users start to pay attention.

    Signs must be posted on the property: No Dogs Permitted.

    Any dogs later found on their property or in their control shall be immediately confiscated.

    Since the convicted neglectful animal abusers will no longer have any dog related expenses, fines and restitution can be more readily paid.

    Some will say “accidents happen”. Not if we prevent them!
    We must stop calling loose dogs “accidents” and start calling it “ANIMAL NEGLECT.”

    This proposed law will reduce the numbers of reactive or deadly dogs, as there will be less demand, therefore less breeding, and breeders of these dogs will learn to be selective of their customers or risk losing customers to the LIFETIME bans.

    Those who actually care about the power breeds will start to be honest about their unique management and dangers in order to prevent attacks and save lives.

    It must be a severe punishment to make dog owners provide management every single day and PREVENT attacks. This law will help, and when enforced, it will reduce recidivism.

    So keep your dogs safe:

    Don’t want to muzzle your power dog in public?
    Better think again.

    Think that you can let your dogs loose in your fenced back yard; unsupervised while you are in the house or away from home? Are you really really sure?

    Don’t have time or patience to teach your dogs to stay on command, or come when called? Then perhaps you will care if you lose dog ownership privileges?

    Don’t want to sterilize your power dogs because you want to breed them, even knowing that unneutered dogs attack more aggressively?
    What’s the ability to have any dogs worth to you?

    Does your son want you to board his dog for him?
    Are you certain that your fence and you can be 100% successful at keeping his dog contained? How will you feel if his dog’s escape results in a dead neighbor dog that in turn results your permanent ban from dog ownership or handling?

    Certain that your dog is safe with the visiting grand kids?
    How certain?

    Think your friends or family members are capable of keeping your dog safe while you’re out of town, or in the hospital?
    How much does boarding cost?
    What is the PRIVILEGE of dog ownership worth to you?

  6. Anonymous
    January 29, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    put these dogs to sleep. they are obviously dangerous and vicious

  7. Anonymous
    January 30, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I get what u are comin from but it’s the people tht have their dogs out an don’t keep a I on dem I love dog I believe tht the dogs should b tie gud an sud b license tht is me an if he no he got a dog an it’s some place it cud get way he sud build a pen an put the dog in

  8. Dog lover
    January 30, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    I think they owners should also be put to sleep.

  9. Anonymous
    January 30, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Dogs are only dangerous if u want it or make it to b ? Wud u say all people dangerous I don’t think so it got ppl tht is make sure dem dogs don’t get out an have dem in pens probably he feed it meat raw all the time we don’t no I get get what happen I believe somethings need to b done about he but it have ppl tht d the up most so dem dogs don’t get way an bite ppl but as I say all dogs int bad an the owners an it got ownews tht all dem have in live is thier dog an no one else

  10. joycelyn
    January 30, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    They really have to do something with those dogs.

  11. Kimberly Tringali
    February 2, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    I am so sorry to read this a God fearing woman loses her life to negligence of the owners. Very very sad. I have a Pit I use for Emotional Service for my mentally challenged clients. He has went through extensive training and then some. I can say and God knows I would never leave him unattended with anyone but me. He’s very loving and likes all kinds of ppl. But yes breeders ( some ) don’t care where their pups go and that is irresponsible on all levels. Of having a bully breed. Once again from Michigan I sent my broken heart to the family and to her children. I just wish ppl would not want these dogs just to say they have one. U have to work with them everyday and lots of love too. Like I said I use mine for service to the ppl I could not ask for a better dog he’s half human in my eyes. He is neutered so I won’t deal with him wanting to mate another dog. God Bless You and you family during this horrible time. May she rest in Peace Always. I’m so very sorry.

  12. Sandra
    February 3, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Just pitbulls doing what they were born and bred to do.Just like the one that almost killed my mother’s dog,a dog we had known since it was 8 weeks old.Neighbors well cared for and trained pitbull dug under my mother’s fence came into her yard and almost killed her dog.Ripped his throat ear to ear.Or the pitbull(different one) that jumped an 8 ft fence to come after my horse and I on a public road.Or the pitbulls (again different two ones)that killed little 7 year old Tyler Jett a local boy as he played outside.Or the pitbulls (5 different pitbulls that time)attacked and mauled a local man simply trying to exercise at Joe Moody park. I HAD ENOUGH OF PITBULLS!!