By Melissa Garcia

CONIFER, Colo. (CBS4) – Two pit bull terriers that attacked and killed a woman in her home were euthanized on Tuesday evening.

The victim who died has been identified as Susan Shawl, 60.

Susan Shawl (credit: Facebook)

Susan Shawl (credit: Facebook)

Richard Shawl (credit: Facebook)

Richard Shawl (credit: Facebook)

Authorities said that the two pit bulls belonged to Susan Shawl’s son, Richard Shawl, 36.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Richard Shawl was also injured in the attack, which happened around 7 p.m. Monday at the home that the two shared on Black Widow Drive in Conifer. Richard was taken to Swedish Medical Center with what was described as non-life threatening injuries.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Jefferson County Animal Control took the dogs from their home to Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden where they were quarantined under court order. Authorities said that Richard Shawl gave permission for his dogs to be euthanized there, which happened Tuesday evening.

Officials said that Richard had already been issued a warning citation in 2008 after a neighbor reported that the dogs had gotten loose and were behaving aggressively.

(credit: Facebook)

(credit: Facebook)

A Jeffco Sheriff’s Office spokesperson told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia that the investigation into the deadly attack was ongoing and it was not clear if Richard would be facing charges.

Bonnie Bogart, a neighbor, was shocked to learn that Susan has been killed by the dogs and that Richard had been injured by them in their own home.

“To go after their owner, that pretty much blew me away,” Bogart said.

According to authorities, the frantic 911 call Monday night came from Richard.

“We got a 911 call from a male saying that he needed help, screaming in the background,” said Lt. Scott Happ, of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Deputies arrived to find the two dogs loose in the home and said that Susan was barely conscious.

“Really bad wounds. We’ve got a tourniquet on,” said a first responder over the emergency radio to dispatch.

Susan died at the scene.

Family friends said that Susan’s husband had passed away in July.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Neighbors said that the dogs spent much of their time behind a metal fence dog pen that was visible from the outside of the Shawl’s home.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to

Comments (4)
  1. If the two dogs DID in fact belong to the the woman and son… I sure would have loved to be a fly on the wall in that home to see what the owners did / did not do to fail these dogs.

    Face it folks, dog(S) living in the same home get in disagreements (ie fights)… over food, toys, treats, who is/ isnt getting love and affection at this very moment, etc. The difference between the men and boys is how we create and maintain structure and leadership in the home to minimize the frequency of fights AND the severity of those fights.

    If in fact the dogs did belong to the woman and her son… I would be willing to bet a year’s salary on 1) there was a lack of leadership in the home, 2) they were the son’s dogs and he wasnt home much, 3) mom was not a leader, 4) there was a fight and mom went to intervene and did nothing right… and lost her life due to injuries most likely not intended for her.

    This is a genuine a tragedy… to the 4th power: The woman lost her life, the son lost his mom, and these dogs will lose their lives over the affair. If we could only turn back time and right all the wrongs that occurred prior to the incident…

    Team Pit-a-Full Dog Training & Rehabilitation
    Denver, CO

    PS… For all the nay-say’er… no, this is not a Pit Bull issue: this is a poor / irresponsible ownership issue, that most definitely was 110% avoidable. Been there/ done that… with most of the 127 recognized breeds of domestic dogs at one time or another.

  2. Pit bulls DO, in fact, maul, maim and kill more people, pets and livestock animals each year in the USA than all other dog breeds and mixes COMBINED. It must be quite a depressing existence to have to come on PIT mauling and killing threads and defend the KILLER PIT, while, at the same time, speaking ill of the PIT BULL DEAD. This lady’s only mistake was believing the pit pushing TRIPE that “pits make great pets” and “pits are just like other dogs”. They do not make great pets and that is BECAUSE they are not like other dog breeds.

  3. It never ceases to amaze me that pit bull “advocates” can come to pit bull mauling, maiming and killing threads day after day after day claiming “it’s not the breed, it’s the owner”. Domestic dogs kept as pets should NOT be continually maiming and killing their owners and owners’ family members. To even suggest that this is just a dog being a dog with a bad owner defies good sense and common logic. Disgusting comment on so many levels.

  4. The average normal person is NOT a “Dog Training & Rehabilitation” expert or a “Dog Whisperer” and shouldn’t have to be. How can you say it “is not a Pit Bull issue” when in all likelihood she would still be alive if they had chosen, say Collies or Retrievers, instead of the most notorious maulers in existence?

    It is an undisputed truth that the public has to be protected from themselves; why else are all dangerous commodities restricted, limited or banned? And Pit Bulls should be no exception!


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