Haggatt Hall community in mourning

What began as a normal, quiet Saturday morning quickly turned to tragedy for the residents of Monroe Road, Haggatt Hall, St Michael today.

Seventy-four-year-old Verona Gibson, a retired nurse of the Sir Winston Scott Polyclinic, was mauled to death by five pit bulls around 5:30 this morning, on her way to clean the St Barnabas Anglican Church.

Three of the dogs were owned by a resident in the neighbourhood. However, it was not immediately clear who owned the other two.

Gibson was attacked a mere stone’s throw from her home. She received multiple bites to her body and succumbed to her injuries on the scene.

Fellow resident, 30-year-old Damien McCollin came to her rescue after hearing a ruckus outside. He was also attacked by the dogs and subsequently rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment of several bites, including a severed piece of his toe.

When Barbados TODAY arrived at the scene after 8 a.m. a crowd of neighbours and other onlookers had gathered at the scene. Gibson’s body was lying at the roadside, covered with a white sheet and surrounded by three police vehicles.

Her family members were huddled together at a neighbouring house, praying and sobbing.

Family members of the victim huddled together at the scene.

A distraught Judy Gibson was overwhelmed by news of the death of her beloved aunt. She told Barbados TODAY she usually accompanied Gibson to clean the church where they were active parishioners. The duo would walk from their Haggatt Hall homes to the nearby house of worship.

“We were very close . . . . We clean the place for people that belong to the church, do everything.

“When they have fairs, she gets the vegetables, we weigh them out,” said Judy, adding that  “this year is going to be a sad year for our fair and the old people’s home we helped out”.

This morning, the 64-year-old niece was faced with the gruesome task of informing other family members of Gibson’s tragic passing.

“I broke down and cried,” she said. “You imagine a pit bull destroying a woman’s life, so early in the morning?”

Onlookers gathered at the scene this morning.

Overcome with anger and grief, Judy maintained that something had to be done with the dogs involved.

“It doesn’t matter what anybody say, because they are out to kill somebody. They are killing sheep, goat, anything that they find. They are looking for blood, so they need to get rid of them.

“Look how a person going to clean a church this morning and a dog destroyed their whole life. Do you know what is a human life? You cannot bring back a life. They need to do something . . . something has to be done,” she insisted.

Judy revealed that Gibson had only returned to the island on Sunday after visiting her daughter in Florida.

“She is a very nice woman, anybody can tell you,” she said, adding, “all the church members calling at my house crying and crying.”

Gibson succumbed to her injuries at the scene.

Also struck by the elderly woman’s death was Reverend Mark Harewood of the St Barnabas Church, who remembered Gibson as a faithful member.

“She decided . . . to come straight back out on Saturday and do what she was accustomed doing on Saturday, which is preparing the church and getting it ready for service tomorrow morning,” he said, adding that Gibson’s death was “a great loss to our church”.

“The pain itself of that kind of attack, it very distressing to me personally and the church as a whole,” he said.

Meanwhile police spokesman Inspector Roland Cobbler said one of the owners of the five dogs was assisting lawmen with their investigations.

He also reminded dog owners that they were responsible for ensuring that their animals were properly secured.

“Strict liability is outlined in the Dogs (Licensing and Control Act) Chapter 177. Section 12, subsection (1) clearly states that an owner of a dog shall not: (a) permit that dog to be in any public place unless it is kept on a lead or leash,” Cobbler reminded in a statement issued this afternoon.


36 Responses to Haggatt Hall community in mourning

  1. Pitbulls-Just Say No
    Pitbulls-Just Say No January 28, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    My heart goes out to the family on their loss. The dogs need to be put down and the owners held accountable.

  2. J. Payne January 28, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Those dogs gotta be put down or they’ll do it again. Once they learn to kill someone they’ll keep doing it.

  3. Carolyn Robertson
    Carolyn Robertson January 28, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    I hope that Dog is put to sleep

  4. Sharon Woolley
    Sharon Woolley January 28, 2017 at 5:27 pm


  5. ch January 28, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    My condolences to the family and the church family.
    The owner of the dogs is responsible for this. People want brand-name dogs and cannot secure them , feed them nor control them.

    • Rosebud January 28, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      @ch: A pitbull is neither a brand name nor a name brand dog. What is the penalty for this anyway? I hope it is not small.
      In addition to which I hope the owner(s) will be called on to foot all burial expenses as well as medical expenses for the other person who was injured attempting to save this lady.

      My condolences to this family. A speedy recovery, Damien.

  6. Norma Taylor
    Norma Taylor January 28, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Very sad

  7. Sugar V Outerbim
    Sugar V Outerbim January 28, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Sincere condolences to the family it is sad whenever you lose someone it is sad

  8. ss January 28, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    All pit bulls should be put down.

  9. Chris January 28, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Condolences to the family, and praying for the guy in the hospital. All dogs involved have to be put down immediately.

  10. Tony Webster January 28, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    @Carolyn, et al: this evening’s TV-8 7.00pm newscast, conveniently has the Ag . Top cop dealing with this, recite a few facts. This is then nicely “capped-off” by CBC saying that they understand that “the Animal control unit will be taking the dogs into custody” . A nice, neat, CBC ” news package” on another horrific dog attack. No news, or comment from the Relevant Minister about why it is taking umpteen years to get a dangerous dogs act on the statute books; no stated attempt to get any word from those responsible for the absence of such an act, including how soon we can expect action.

    Hmmm….five (5) gigs taken into custody…presumably, to be put down. The real question is how many MORE dangerous dogs are out there? Fifty? Five hundred? Fifteen hundred? Any near to where YOU Live?

    THAT is the real news here: a cloak of official silence.

  11. Blanchard Ulanda
    Blanchard Ulanda January 28, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Sighhh…..that so sad…..R.I.P nurse

  12. Maretta Fedy
    Maretta Fedy January 28, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    what a very tragic story, my condolences to the family, very very sad

  13. Joan E Small
    Joan E Small January 28, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Those dogs are a danger to society! They should be put down!! Condolences to the family!

    • Felicia Corbin
      Felicia Corbin January 29, 2017 at 8:37 am

      You have to train the dog to be like that. the thing is dog and cock fighting is a big thing here and a lot of young children are into it

    • Joan E Small
      Joan E Small January 29, 2017 at 8:55 am

      That’s a very dangerous game! So in humane to the animals!! Which means the owners of those dogs should be charge!

  14. Margaret-Anne Smith
    Margaret-Anne Smith January 28, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Sincere condolences to the family and friends

  15. Felicia Corbin
    Felicia Corbin January 28, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    I work with this lady many years at Winston Scott this is so sad

    • Felicia Corbin
      Felicia Corbin January 29, 2017 at 12:22 am

      Nurse Gibson she retired use to work gp and dressings …dark with a little size never talk much sell vegs

    • Roslyn Barton
      Roslyn Barton January 29, 2017 at 8:06 am

      Sincere condolences to her family

  16. Marilyn Roxann Lorimer
    Marilyn Roxann Lorimer January 28, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Condolences to her family!

  17. Storm January 28, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Some dog owners think that their dog won’t attack people, so they let them run loose, As if we humans get up feeling the same way every morning. How can someone tell when a dog will trip because it hasn’t done it before. Keep wanna dogs tied or put up cause a deaf dog don’t cause any problems.

  18. Sandra Roberts January 28, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    The owners of those dogs should be in jail those dogs must be on a leash pittbulls and not outside walking about. R.I.P Friend

  19. Sandra Roberts January 28, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    The owners of those dogs should be in jail those dogs must be on a leash and not outside walking about. R.I.P Friend

  20. Andrew January 29, 2017 at 12:34 am

    In Canada those dogs would of been put to sleep and the owners would be held responsible. My condolences to the family

  21. Lea Leon
    Lea Leon January 29, 2017 at 1:07 am

    My condolences

  22. michael parker January 29, 2017 at 4:18 am

    very sad to here of this tradgedy,theese dogs should have been put down at the sceene and the owner should face prison and not be allowed to have dogs of any discription again.

  23. Maxine Maloney
    Maxine Maloney January 29, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Condolences to her family and the church family.

  24. Hal Austin January 29, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Are the dog owners in custody? If not, why not?

  25. Ziggy Blessed
    Ziggy Blessed January 29, 2017 at 9:24 am

    this one sad sad……

  26. Roseanna Tudor
    Roseanna Tudor January 29, 2017 at 10:05 am

    It’s heartbreaking to imagine what this poor lady went through…my thoughts and prayers are with this family… however we need to be aware of the dangerous and uneducated DOG OWNER.

  27. Birdman January 29, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    so sad those dogs have no right in Barbados And the owns make me sick

  28. Eilene January 29, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Taking these animals into custody is not good enough , these animals must be put to sleep , they took a life .

  29. Claudine Moseley January 29, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    So sad to hear family. It hurts so much.

  30. Margaret Ross-Salavarria January 29, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    So sorry to read this. Looks like these dogs were trained to cause harm; in this case, death. Sincere condolences to her family, friends and loved ones. Safe travels to her and God’s speed.

  31. Roger Gibbons January 30, 2017 at 3:02 am

    I always said that no one should be allowed to keep pit bulls in Barbados I still believe that. RIP dear soul.


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