Multiple failures – a trainer weighs in on tragic dog mauling of elderly woman

Trainer weighs in on fatal dog mauling
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Last Thursday, an elderly woman in Virginia died after being mauled by a dog that her daughter had just adopted. The tragic incident played out inside of a Virginia Beach home on Bunker Hill Lane on Wednesday evening.

The victim, 90-year-old Margaret M. Colvin, died after being attacked by a young dog named “Blue,” who had just been adopted by the victim’s daughter, “Linda.” Linda got Blue from the Forever Home Rescue and Rehabilitation Center hours before the fatal mauling.

Linda has stated she was outside with the dog when she heard her mother yell for help from inside the home after falling – it was after Linda went inside that Blue launched into his attack. Linda is quoted in Fox 8 News describing the attack, “I’ve never seen anything like it. It was like something out of a movie. I tried to pull him off, tried to say no, tried to be nice…I just thought if I could get him off of her for one minute.”

Multiple outlets have reported that Blue was sent to his new owner with a shock collar – the woman was allegedly advised by the rescue agency to take the collar off of the dog at night. Blue was not wearing his shock collar when he mauled Margaret Colvin.

Dog trainer Jen Lewis, owner of K9 Confidence Positive Dog Training, has spoken out about what happened, and the likely link between Blue’s behavior and the shock collar which was reported to have been provided to his new owner by the rescue group. Lewis stated:

People failed this dog at every level. He was at a shelter with a bite history, pulled by a rescue group that should have never gotten him, sent to a “rehabilitation” facility that used a shock to supress his behavior and turn him into a ticking time bomb instead of conditioning him to his triggers and helping him to react appropriately.

She added:

Training and rehabilitating a dog like this is a lifelong process for the dog. Shock collars suppress unwanted behavior through fear and pain and the fallout from using them can often be worse than the original behavior that they are trying to suppress, especially with aggressive or fearful dogs.

According to WTKR News, a woman had previously adopted Blue and then returned him to the Forever Home Rehabilitation Center after just two days. Blue’s former owner, Tia Walke, expressed surprise that Blue was adopted out again because she claims that he displayed signs of aggression towards her nephew during the short time that she owned him.

The rescue agency has released a statement about the tragic fatal mauling:

We send out our deepest condolences to the Patterson family who adopted Blue. Blue went through our 3 month board and train program, and was a favorite amongst all of the staff members and volunteers. Blue loved other dogs, and didn’t know a stranger. He never showed any aggression while at our training facility, and passed his final evaluation with flying colors before being adopted out to the Patterson family. Trainers spent yesterday morning checking over Blue’s new home and going over training with Blue’s new owner. There were 2 other dogs in Blue’s new home that Blue immediately bonded with. We do not know what events transpired in the moments before this tragedy occurred with Blue’s owner’s mother, and none of us could have ever predicted this horrible event. We are devastated for the Patterson family and our thoughts and prayers go out to them.

Blue was seized after the attack and taken to animal control – his owner hopes to see him put down.

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Stranger makes an incredible donation to help save homeless animals – read the heartwarming story here.

Police bust out car window to save a young puppy from dying inside of parked vehicle – read more here.


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  1. What a shame. My deepest sympathy to Blue’s owner having to lose her mother. So sorry for what may possibly happen to Blue.

  2. What went wrong? TERRIBLE TRAINING from a bad ‘rescue’ and a freaking shock collar! Those things need to be BANNED!

    Once that elderly lady fell and started yelling, that was it. Blue was reacting like many dogs would (she was prey) and the yelling only caused him to become more excited. It wasn’t aggression that did this: he was NEVER taught how to behave inside a family in family situations!!!!!!!

  3. While I believe in giving every dog every chance to be rehabilitated some dogs just are not safe!! And in this instance Blue should of never been adopted out a second time! And it’s sad but the best thing in this case is for Blue to be humanely euthanized. Unless he was to live with an experienced dog trainer,but can Blue ever be trusted? I agree with the trainer shock collars are not the way to go!! I feel for the family and my heart breaks for Blue!!! The whole situation is devastating! Prayers to the family

  4. This dog was totally confused. He never sow anyone lying on the floor and he by instinct though that he need to protect his owner. The rescuer should never released the dog after only 3 months of training. Rip my little blue. People fell you and now you will have to die for humans mistakes. It makes me very angry ????. The trainer of this dog is totally crazy . ????????????????????????

  5. So sorry for all !!! Its a very sorry för all !!! (Bat I feel most sorry for Blue ) ????????????????????

  6. Blue was a victim – the rescue group is at fault for allowing him to be adopted out when they were aware he could be aggressive – instead he was sent out with one of those torture devices – a shock collar. Everyone failed Blue – This rescue can apologize all they want – they failed Blue, they failed the adoptive owner and failed her mother who died – shock collars create aggression – these are despicable devices and should be banned nationwide.

  7. As a trainer, and a rescue, shock collars should NEVER be used to correct aggression. At that point, you are adding aggression with aggression, it doesn’t work. Blue never has been given the chance to prove he can or can not be rehabilitated bc FHRC did not rehab him, they abused him. Knowing from personal experience, FHRC is a farse. They have zero clue how to rehab, or train any dog. Blue needed to have his thought process reconditioned, and lighting him up is not the way to achieve that. In my opinion, he has been failed by his first owner for not getting him training, the second owner for not getting him training, and FHRC for taking on a case they don’t know how to rehab. They had NO BUSINESS taking this dog. Shame on all of you. Now this elder women and Blue pay the price for ignorant humans.. My prayers are with this family.
    Cindy Smith.

  8. Its not the dogs fault i don’t care what anyone says, he should be with someone who has time to spend with him and not with a shock collar. He does not deserve to be euthanized


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