KNOXVILLE (CN) - Knox County ordered him to keep his pit bulls tied up but Charles Smallwood let them run loose and they killed Jennifer Lowe, 21, after mauling her for half an hour, Lowe's family says. The Lowes also sued Knox County, claiming its deputies did not respond to repeated 911 calls about the fatal mauling for nearly 30 minutes.
The Lowes say Knox County ordered Smallwood to keep his pit bulls confined after they attacked a police cruiser in August 2007, and Smallwood agreed to do that in September 2007.
They say Smallwood's landlord, defendant Priscilla White, kept a kennel on the rental property and knew Smallwood let his dangerous dogs run loose.
The dogs attacked Jennifer Lowe at about 3:44 p.m. on Nov. 12, 2007. A neighbor called deputies three times. The defendant deputies were 8½ miles away at 3:45 p.m. when the first call came, 4½ of it "interstate quality roads," but one deputy waited in line to gas up his car "and the other deputies received and then ate their lunch" at the fast-food restaurant-gas station, the complaint states.
The horrified neighbor placed her second or third 911 call at 4:06 p.m., saying that "the pit bulls were still attacking the woman, and that the woman was still moving, but barely," the complaint states.
When the deputies finally arrived at 4:13 p.m., the dogs charged them and the officers shot them. They found Jennifer still alive, barely, but she died that night at 7 p.m.
The Lowes say if the officers had responded to the first call, they could have saved her. They demand $2.5 million from each defendant. They are represented in Knox County Court by Wayne Ritchie.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.