Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Howard Miller dog mauls woman to death - dog owner faces charges for harboring a vicious animal

White Mills, KY

Hardin County

November 24, 2009  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date


  1 boxer mix Alleged  

A retired Leitchfield librarian, Karen Gillespie , was apparently mauled to death by a dog near her home in White Mills.

According to an autopsy done by Chief Medical Examiner Tracy Corey, Gillespie's death was due to head injuries she received from a dog attack.

Hardin County Deputy Coroner John Clemens explained the majority of Gillespie's injuries were head related, and that she died shortly after the attack.

An investigation by Clemens showed that Gillespie died between 4:15-5 p.m. on November 24, but was not found until 9:15 a.m. on the following day. Gillespie was found near a neighbor's home on Webb Mill Road in White Mills, adjacent to the property where the dog's owners lived.

Gillespie had initially left her home to take photos of an old schoolhouse that had been torn down.

When she did not return after several hours, the husband became suspicious. He reported his wife missing at around 7 p.m. Clemens added that a rescue squad went looking for Gillespie all evening, and into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Kentucky State Police Detective Larry Walker said the dog will likely be euthanized within the next few days.

A Fox News affiliate in Louisville identified the dog as an American Pit Bull breed.

The dog was owned by Howard Miller. Miller had allegedly placed signs on his property warning visitors about the dog. Additional reports indicate the dog might have attacked a census worker as well.

Charlotte Gower, who served on the library board from 1997 to 2006, said Gillespie was a librarian for the Grayson County Public Library for a number of years."She was a really progressive librarian," Gower said. "She was always looking for innovative things for the library."  Gillespie was 53 years old.

Her last job before retirement was with the library in Leitchfield, where she worked there for over 10 years.

Update 12/2/09:  New reports reveal the dog that attacked and killed Karen Gillespie in White Mills had a history of violence with humans.

Kentucky State Police Officer Bruce Reeves said the case was still under investigation, but the dog's owner could be facing a misdemeanor charge of harboring a vicious animal. The penalty is a fine and/or a mandatory order to spend so many days in jail.

"The dog has a history of violence," Reeves explained. "It is on record that the dog bit a census worker last summer."

According to Reeves, the Boxer mix even attacked a firefighter during search and rescue efforts to find Gillespie.

"The dog bit a firefighter while we were looking for her," Reeves mentioned. He added, under standard procedure, officials have to wait a period of 10 days before euthanizing the animal.

Hardin County Animal Control removed the dog from its property on Webb Mill Road immediately after the incident.

State Police Investigator Larry Walker learned after speaking with the dog's owner, Howard Miller, that the animal was initially a stray and that it was not being fenced in at the residence. The home was located within a half mile from Gillespie's residence.  "The family is very remorseful of what happened," Reeves said.

"Karen had went for a walk in the woods behind her house.  She wanted to find remnants of an old schoolhouse. There was also a cemetery back there. She was looking for artifacts, and taking pictures of them."


Grayson County News Gazette  WKYT 27 News