Lisa Urso’s love of animals was profound, reports CNN. She was an advocate that encouraged her family and friends to donate to the ASPCA and other animal rescue groups on her birthday. That’s why it’s so difficult for everyone to grasp how she lost her life.
On May 9, officers from Fox Lake were called to her home around 4:43 pm, after she was found unresponsive. On Tuesday, autopsy results confirmed that Urso, 52, was mauled to death by her 55-pound French bulldog, Blue, the Lake County coroner’s office reported. Toxicology results are pending.
According to the Chicago Suntimes, the attack took place inside her suburban home, but she was able to make it outside to her porch, where she was later found dead.
“She had multiple dog bites and scratches all over her body, mostly on her legs, torso, and arms,” Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper told CNN. “Clearly, she died from the wounds she received from the dog. There’s no question about that.”
Urso shared her home with three healthy male dogs: Blue, a two-year-old French bulldog mix; Rocco, a smaller 2-year-old French bulldog that weighed 36-pounds; and a 15-year-old collie mix that weighed 25-pounds.
Blue had two prior stints with the local police department and Animal Care and Control. The dog had bit the victim’s boyfriend in her home on April 13, which caused him to seek medical attention and then again on April 21. He was placed in “hospital confinement,” but because he “did not show signs of aggression or behaviors that would be a cause for concern,” he was returned to his owner, Robin Van Sickle, program manager at the Lake County Animal Care and Control Center said. There was no concern for public safety since Blue’s biting incidents happened at home.
Blue was released to go back home on April 30. Nine days later, he mauled his owner.
You’re not alone if you wonder how a dog that’s not generally labeled aggressive or large could maul someone. Initial news of how Urso died surprised the staff at the animal control center, Van Sickle said.
“When this first came up, we were like, no, that’s not possible. There’s no way a French bulldog killed its owner. She probably died of natural causes, and [it] tried to revive her, stimulate her to wake up.” The center admitted they had the same reaction and responses as everyone else.
It was the Lake County Animal Care and Control Center that updated Blue’s breed to be a French Bulldog “mix” considering his size. Typically French bulldogs weigh less than 28-pounds.
“At the end of it, it was this individual dog, or dogs, that caused this unfortunate scenario,” Van Sickle added. “Sometimes you get a bad apple, just like you do with people.” The National Canine Research Council told CNN breed identification is profoundly unreliable, unless documented with pedigree certification or DNA analysis when it comes to dog bite incidents.
“She was an amazing soul,” says Jayne Petty, a friend of 25 years. “She put her animals above everyone and called them her ‘four-legged children.'”