KCBD Investigates: Lubbock woman survives vicious dog attack at Buddy Holly Park

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 6:52 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A walk at Buddy Holly Park has turned into a story of survival for Ruth Ann Muffley.

Muffley said she walks her dog, Flaca at the park every day, and Tuesday, Sept. 27 was no different.

Muffley said she and Flaca were enjoying a beautiful, quiet morning until a stray dog blocked their path.

“I saw a dog just barking, going crazy, just barking over there. I was like, well, I don’t want to try to go through that dog. I told Flaca, ‘Mamma, we are going to have to go the long way to avoid that dog,’” Muffley said.

But Ruth didn’t know that two more stray dogs had snuck up behind her.

“I didn’t see the other ones coming. They knocked me down and tore me apart. They were really chomping me from the back,” Muffley said.

Then, Muffley said, the third dog attacked.

“By that time, they had already torn my top, my jacket, everything was torn off of me. I was yelling and screaming for help,” Muffley said.

Justin Skarda works nearby and followed the sound of the screams to the park, where he found Muffley on the ground.

“Declothed, covered in blood,” Skarda said.

“It feels like I was stabbed 37 times,” Muffley said.

Skarda said he ran toward Ruth, trying to scare off the dogs.

“When I was coming over here, the black dog still had its mouth on her leg. I am talking full clench, canines all the way down. And at that point, Ruth tries to get up. Every time she does, those dogs turn on her,” Skarda said.

“I’m over there clawing like a scary movie,” Muffley said. “God, it was just, it’s something I don’t want anyone to have to go through again.”

As Muffley tried to fight the dogs off, she saw something in the distance.

“I saw a lot of shredded clothing. Something was over there behind that tree,” Muffley said.

Skarda saw it too.

“I could see what looked like the same scene as around where Ruth was at, and it’s clothing,” Skarda said.

Then, they realized it was a body. Skarda said that’s when the dogs started to charge at him.

“So I fired two shots without even thinking,” Skarda said.

The dogs ran off and Justin called 911.

“There is a dead body and a woman that was mangled. I fired two shots because a lady was down. I have never seen a pack of dogs act like that. Where they went, they are going to get somebody else,” Skarda said to the 911 operator. “I’ve never heard anybody scream for help like that. These dogs need to be put down.”

Help arrived for Muffley as Skarda tracked down the dogs.

“As soon as they saw me, they are trying to run at me. I am shooting them! I am [expletive] shooting them! Get some [expletive} officers over here now!” Skarda told the 911 operator.

The dogs got away.

“Are those dogs, are they still alive?” asked the 911 operator.

“I can’t see them. That one, I put a bullet through its back straight back and it went off,” Skarda told the 911 operator.

“Animal control is going over there as well. I told them to look for you on the side of the baseball fields,” the 911 operator told Skarda.

Steven Greene is the director of Lubbock Animal Services

“I actually had my field supervisor and my lead officer out there throughout the day, patrolling the area, looking for the animals, setting traps,” Greene said.

Lubbock police reported that the initial 911 call came in at 7:30 a.m.

Greene said his officers captured one dog by 1:30 p.m. and tracked down the others by 7:15 p.m. that night.

“None of them had any ID, whether it was a microchip or a tag. It looked like these animals had been living out on their own for a while,” Greene said.

Greene said the dogs, pit bull mixes, were euthanized and tested for rabies. The tests came back negative.

We requested Lubbock Animal Service’s performance metrics dating back to 2019, when the department reported 774 dog bites and 1,450 aggressive dog investigations.

The next year, the department reported 730 dog bites and 1,438 investigations.

In 2021/2022, Lubbock Animal Services reported 881 dog bites and 1,690 investigations.

As for this most recent deadly attack, police identified the body found in the park as Jack Looney, someone Muffley recognized.

“I just barely started seeing him jogging out there for a couple of weeks. He would go out there about the same time I was out there. Every morning I would say, ‘Good morning.’ We always crossed paths,” Muffley said.

Muffley is still recovering from her injuries but recently resumed her daily walks at Buddy Holly Park, though she’s much more cautious.

“Me and Flaca, we stop every 10 feet and look around and make sure nothing is going to attack. I take a stick with me now. I’m not going to be afraid. I am going to continue doing what I do every day. That is my mentality right now,” Muffley said.

Muffley said she always stops by the tree, where she found Looney’s body.

“I saw someone had put some flowers over there. I do go by there and say a prayer for him,” Muffley said.

Still, no one has come forward with information about who those dogs belonged to.

We requested a copy of Looney’s autopsy report, but the medical examiner’s office says it will be several months before that is ready.

We have a meeting set up with city leaders to discuss unleashed and aggressive dogs in the city.

We will have that information in an upcoming report.