The tragic death of a 13-year-old who was killed during an evening stroll in mid-May near her family’s home in Fort Defiance on Navajo Nation has been attributed to a deadly dog attack, a recent autopsy has revealed.  

The deceased victim has been identified as Lyssa Rose Upshaw, and her injuries entailed canine teeth marks, including cuts and abrasions on her neck and head. She had also suffered deep soft tissue wounds on her legs, reported Associated Press. Upshaw’s corpse was reportedly found covered in dirt with her clothes torn. The details were disclosed earlier this week in response to a public records request.

Distraught by the sequence of events, Upshaw’s mother Marissa Jones revealed that her daughter loved being around dogs, and the family never envisioned such a nightmare to befall them. Jones further reiterated that she suspected the death to be a result of a dog attack but waited until an official cause came along.

The medical examiner’s office in Coconino County categorized the fatal mishap as accidental, but the incident has sparked discussions about how to hold owners responsible for the actions of their pets. Dog attacks have been commonplace in the American-Indian territory, yet stringent laws to curb such instances are yet to be put in place, The Times Of India reported.

While tribal lawmakers called for the need to establish criminal penalties, the resolution was rejected on the grounds of there being a need for more input. Concerns have been raised as to why there haven’t been animal control laws that hold dog owners accountable for pet-induced deaths.

An FBI probe and lab testing are underway, but authorities have asserted that tribal charges are being considered in Upshaw’s death amid the process of gathering more evidence. The media outlet suggests that investigators are also awaiting results of specimens collected from the dogs, who belonged to a neighbor.

Investigators alleged that Jones has been pushing for a jail time and fines for anyone who is found responsible. The maximum jail term imposed by Najavo Nation, irrespective of the crimes, is one year. “I’m hoping and I’m praying for my daughter to get her justice,” she said. 

police-dog-1761874_960_720 Representation Image Police Dog In Training Dimitrisvetsikas1969/ Pixabay