Leesburg Man, 20, Died of Dog Bites, Officials Say

By Dagny Salas and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Authorities have confirmed that the 20-year-old man found dead inside a Leesburg house Monday died of bites from two adult pit bulls. It is the first human fatality from a dog attack in memory in Loudoun County, said Adrienne Lawson, lead officer with the Loudoun Department of Animal Care and Control.

Relatives of the victim, identified as Carter Delaney, asked Tuesday evening that their privacy be respected while they mourned his death.

"He was greatly loved," a family representative said.

Meanwhile, friends poured out their grief in postings on Delaney's Facebook site and remembered him as a good guy with a wonderful sense of humor.

"He was a really good kid," Damir Kadric said in an interview. Kadric, who attended Heritage High School in Leesburg with Delaney, said his humor contributed to "an aura" about him that "made him a really great person."

Ron Petrella, athletic director at Heritage High, remembered Delaney as a "bright and energetic young man."

Among the notes posted on Facebook was this from a young woman: "Carter, I never met a person more loving, caring, smart and funny as you."

Several people cited his gift for listening, for hearing them out and for brightening a bad day.

"You will always have a place in my heart," one wrote.

Officer Chris Jones, a Leesburg police spokesman, said further investigation is needed to determine exactly what happened to Carter P. Ridge Delaney. His body was found near the body of a mixed-breed pug, Jones said.

Delaney had suffered puncture wounds consistent with dog bites, according to a medical examiner's report. Necropsy results on the pug were not available.

Five dogs were found in the residence, including a cocker spaniel and pit bull puppy, both of which were unharmed. The two pit bulls were taken to the county's animal shelter, said Lawson, who entered the home with police and other animal control officers.

One account that was circulating among Delaney's friends Tuesday was that he had tried to stop an attack on the pug.

A friend posted this message: "Only a good person w/a great heart wud of done wut u did for that puppy."

Officials plan to meet Wednesday with the victim's family and the owner of the two pit pulls, the victim's brother, Thomas Delaney, to determine what will be done with the dogs, Lawson said. Under state law, if a dog attack results in a human fatality, the case is taken to court to determine whether the dog should be euthanized, Lawson said.

The dogs are about 4 years old and had up-to-date rabies vaccinations and county registrations, said Thomas Koenig, director of Loudoun animal control.

The Town of Leesburg does not prohibit ownership of pit bulls, Jones said. Loudoun does not prohibit them, either, although it bans their adoption from the county shelter.

Police were called to the scene Monday afternoon when a relative, concerned about not being able to contact Carter Delaney, looked through a window of the residence, in the 100 block of Plaza Street NE, and saw the dogs loose inside, Jones said.

Police waited to enter with the animal control officers and found Delaney and the pug dead. The man and dog had been dead a few hours when they were discovered, Jones said.

"These dogs, for whatever reason, attacked him and that little dog," Jones said.

When Lawson and three other animal control officers entered the residence, they found the two pit bulls covered in blood and behaving aggressively, barking and lunging, Lawson said.

The dogs were secured in the back yard so police could investigate the scene, Lawson said.

Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.

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