Investigators: Theresa Ellerman dies from dog bite
Updated: Tuesday, 15 Dec 2009, 8:52 AM EST
Published : Monday, 14 Dec 2009, 9:45 PM EST
* Melanie Woodrow
NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk Police Investigators say a dog bite to a woman's neck has caused her death. Police along with Fire and Rescue Teams responded to Tabor Court early Saturday morning.
Investigators say 49-year-old Theresa Ellerman from Jacksonville, North Carolina was found on Tabor Court with breathing troubles.
An Alaskan Malamute bit her during her visit with friends. Police say about one hour later, Ellerman died at the hospital.
"I was shocked because I've seen the dog before and he never came off that way to me," said neighbor Alex Tabor.
Tabor wasn't the only one surprised.
"This is very unusual," said Dr. Ron Hallstrom.
Dr. Hallstrom is a Veterinarian at the Dog and Cat Hospital on 21st street.
He says Malamutes generally have a good temperament. "Overall I think they're not as apt to bite as a Pit Bull or a Rottweiler. I think in most cases they have a pretty good disposition."
Dr. Hallstrom says the malamute is from the arctic circle and closely related to the siberian husky.
"The malamute is a big dog, if it bit a person in the right place, which this dog did, it can cause serious problems."
Norfolk police say the malamute did not show signs of being rabid.
Dr. Hallstrom says dogs that bite will usually have shown signs of aggression in the past. He suggests visitors always tell homeowners if they're uncomfortable around dogs.
Norfolk police tell WAVY.com the homeowner will not face charges related to the deadly dog bite.
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