National News

Husband of woman mauled by rescued Akita doesn't want breed to be blamed

Posted December 22, 2017 1:06 p.m. EST

— "She was doing something that she loved to do."

The husband of a woman mauled and killed by a rescued Akita doesn't want the breed to be blamed for what happened.

Police say 69-year-old volunteer Carol Harris was killed in the attack Wednesday.

Carol's husband, Kenneth Harris, was wrapping his wife's Christmas gifts while she was out rehabilitating the Akita at a Phoenix kennel. He says he was heartbroken to hear what happened.

"She was very giving, understanding, intelligent woman," says Harris. "I'm going to miss everything."

Harris expected to see her around 2:30 p.m. but Carol didn't make it home.

Phoenix police reported she died from injuries consistent with dog bites.

Harris said the couple has four foster Akitas and two of their own. He plans to keep them and doesn't want anyone to blame the breed for his wife's death.

"They're not aggressive. Just like pit bulls, people think that they're all aggressive. They're not," Harris said.

The dog involved in the attack is now dead. It was euthanized Thursday and was taken to the state lab for rabies testing.

Meantime, Harris spent this morning at the mortuary working on funeral arrangements.

Harris said Carol died doing what she loved. She volunteered with Akita Advocates for 12 years.

He said she adored the breed and worked hard to find them loving homes. He said since she got involved, she helped place more than 500 rescued Akita dogs in homes.

She retired from working as a trainer at a bank three years ago and that's when he said she jumped into the rescue like it was her full-time job.

"The last three years, since she was retired, she worked more hours doing that (volunteering with Akita Advocates and finding them homes) than she ever did working for the bank."

He said his wife didn't know much about the dog's history, which is oftentimes the case with rescue dogs.

Harris told AZ Family they were supposed to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Jan. 2.

Harris is aware Deb Harlow has created the account for funeral expenses and the rescue group.