DECATUR, Ga. -- A piece of crime scene tape still hangs in front of Rebecca Carey's home in Decatur, a reminder of the homicide investigation that took an unusual turn when Dekalb County Police realized it wasn't a person, but a dog that killed her.
"To have that happen to somebody you feel should have an idea of what they're dealing with, it kind of makes us all slip back just a little bit and say this is something that can actually happen," said LuAnn Farrell, the co-founder of the non-profit Angels Among Us Pet Rescue.
Carey had one of their boxers, along with two presas and two pitbulls in her home at the time of the attack. Farrell says Carey had recently adopted a Presa from an animal shelter and was pet sitting the other for a friend.
Investigators admit they'll never know exactly what happened inside Carey's home. Police obviously can't interview the dogs. But they think Carey was bitten by at least one of them multiple times when she tried to break up a fight. Animal control euthanized all of the dogs, arguing it would have been too difficult to determine which attacked her.
"We did not know and I cannot afford to be wrong on that answer. If I think four did it and I release that one and he attacks later, unacceptable," said Sgt. Tim Medlin, the interim director of Dekalb County Animal Services.
Medlin says this is the first time he's heard of a fatal dog attack in Dekalb county. Farrell says there were only 15 nationwide last year. Still they both worry Carey's case will cause some to shy away from adopting or fostering animals.
"You know that's the one thing she wouldn't want people to do, shy away from rescue. It's already hard enough. We're already having thousands of them being put to sleep every day. There's only so many of us that can do it," said Farrell.
Carey's parents say their daughter vowed to be a voice for animals since second grade after reading a book on unwanted pets. Carey spent her life volunteering at animal shelters, finding homes for animals in need and even worked at Loving Hands Animal Hopsital. In a testament to Carey's love of animals, her family set up a fund to support rescue efforts.
"She was one of the good ones because she did take in the ones nobody else would help," said Farrell.
Donations can be made at www.angelsrescue.org, by putting Carey's name in the remarks section. They can also be mailed to Loving Hands Animal Hospital, 13374 Hwy 9, Alpharetta, GA, 30004.