'I Thought a Dog Was Man's Best Friend': Grieving Mom Shocked After Mauling Death of 'Good Man'

Melvin Olds, Jr., 45, took a shortcut home through the woods, where he encountered the dogs

Melvin Olds Jr.
Photo: Family Photo

The grieving mother of the Florida man mauled to death by dogs while taking a shortcut home described him as a “good man” in an interview while expressing her shock.

“I thought a dog was a man’s best friend,” said Cynthia Hill, the mother of 45-year-old Melvin Olds Jr., whose body was found Thursday with more than 100 bite wounds, reports WFLA.

“He was a good person, a good man. Just so hurt, deeply because it’s so unexpected,” Hill added.

Olds, a father of five who was also a grandfather, walked through a wooded area when he was attacked by the pack of dogs, the Highland County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.

A Friday autopsy determined the preliminary cause of death was from injuries suffered during an animal attack. More than 100 bites were found on his body.

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Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services officers have set traps and Animal Services units have been patrolling the area looking for loose dogs that may have been involved in the attack, the Sheriff’s Office says.

Melvin Olds Jr. Facebook
Melvin Olds, Jr., 45. Melvin Olds Jr. Facebook

Six dogs have been captured in the area whose bites match the wounds on Olds’ body, the Sheriff’s Office says.

Still, the Sheriff’s Office cautions, “that alone is not enough to say for sure that they were the animals involved.”

DNA from those dogs will be compared to DNA collected from the wounds to see if a positive connection can be made, the release says.

Melvin Olds Jr.
Police setting traps for the dogs that killed Olds.

“I want to encourage residents of Highway Park and the surrounding area to be on the lookout for any loose dogs, especially those that seem aggressive,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said in the release. “We don’t want anyone else to be injured.”

Olds’ fiancé, Jannell Ward, told WFLA she had seen stray dogs roaming the neighborhood before.

“They growled a couple times but they never ran up to me,” she told the outlet. “They never came at me or insinuated that they were going to bite me. I never got that feeling.”

Anyone who sees loose dogs in the area should avoid approaching them and contact the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office at 863-402-7200.

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