Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn announced Friday the investigation into the May 9th fatal dog mauling of 14-year-old Ryan Hazel in Dighton has been completed. Here's a summary of the investigation.
At approximately 7:59 pm on May 9, 2019, Dighton Police received a 911 call that the
body of 14 year old Ryan Hazel was found at the rear of 2477 Maple Swamp Road in
2477 Maple Swamp Road is a sprawling property with a home and other buildings.
Numerous dogs and several different types of animals lived on the property.
At approximately 6:25 pm, Ryan Hazel arrived at the home to care for animals on the
property while the homeowner was away. By agreement with the homeowner, Ryan had
been doing this work for approximately one year. He was driven to the property by his
grandmother. Ryan’s job typically took 30-45 minutes.
Ryan’s grandmother remained in the car while Ryan tended to his duties. Aﬁer an
unusually long period of time, Ryan’s grandmother called Ryan’s mother, who was out of state. Ryan’s mother then got in touch with a neighbor, who made his way to the rear of the property where he discovered Ryan’s body.
The neighbor found Ryan suffering from traumatic injuries to several areas of his body
and called 911. Both the neighbor and ﬁrst responders utilized CPR and other life saving measures. Despite these efforts, Ryan was declared deceased.
The owner of the property was in Boston While this occurred. He returned home when he was contacted by police.
The neighbor, who was familiar with the dogs on the property, told law enforcement that
he saw four dogs loose on the property when he arrived on scene. The dogs were later
secured by the neighbor in the basement ~ three Belgian Malinois and one Dutch
These four do gs and numerous other dogs on the property were all removed from the
home and held by law enforcement as the investigation proceeded.
Through a follow-up investigation, it has been determined that a total of ﬁve dogs
participated in the Ryan Hazel‘s death — the four original dogs and an additional Belgian Mallinois.
The ﬁfth dog was quarantined at Dighton Animal Rescue. All ﬁve dogs were
quarantined once law enforcement became involved, and public safety was not at risk.
Although there were no eye witnesses to the incident, investigators spoke with numerous witnesses familiar with the property and the dogs in question.
There is no surveillance video on the property.
The owner of the dogs, Scott Dunmore, was cooperative during the investigation. Mr.
Dunmore did not follow the appropriate licensing requirements for these dogs. However,
he did obtain the appropriate vaccinations for these dogs.
The scene was documented through photographs and was forensically processed by the MA State Police Crime Laboratory.
Ryan’s phone was also examined. His last activity was at approximately 6:22 pm. There
was no suspicious activity on his phone.
All evidence shows that Ryan had experience caring for dogs and these ﬁve dogs in
Medical Examiner Katherine Lindstrom determined the cause of death to be multiple
canine bite wounds and the manner of death to be accident.
Through the work of the Dighton Police, the MA State Police, and the MA State Police
Laboratory investigators are conﬁdent that only these ﬁve dogs were involved in Ryan’s
Forensic testing revealed four dogs were involved in the attack and subsequent
investigation determined that a ﬁfth dog was also outside and involved in the attack.
The investigation further revealed that all remaining dogs on the property were locked
inside at the time of the attack and had no involvement.
There is no evidence of foul play.
No evidence supports that any of the other dogs on the property were involved in Ryan’s death.
Investigators spoke to ofﬁcials at the Division of Fish & Wildlife and other experts in the
ﬁeld to discuss the possibility of wild animals being the culprit.
No evidence supports the involvement of wild animals in Ryan Hazel’s death.
On May 17, 2019 Scott Dunmore, through a written waiver, waived his right to a hearing
on the euthanization of the ﬁve dogs.
On May 22, 2019, the Dighton Board of Selectmen voted to euthanize the ﬁve dogs.
On May 23, 2019, the ﬁve dogs were humanely euthanized by a veterinarian.
There were numerous other dogs on the property that were not involved in Ryan’s death.
Some of these dogs were boarding on the property. These dogs have been reunited with their owners.
Some dogs have been placed in foster homes. Other dogs have been returned to the
homeowner, per the municipality.
Ryan Hazel passed away after being attacked by ﬁve dogs - one Dutch Shephard (two
years old) and four Belgian Malinois (three of whom were eight months old, and one of
whom was four years old).
After a thorough review of Ryan’s cell phone data activity, it has been determined that
the attack likely occurred sometime between 6:35 and 6:45 pm. The sequence of events and the cause of the attack is not known and will likely never be known.
Other potential causes of Ryan’s death have been excluded.
There is no evidence of foul play in this case. The owner of the dogs was cooperative
throughout the investigation. There is no basis for criminal charges to issue in this case.
This was sadly a terrible tragedy.
Ryan was experienced in caring for dogs; these ﬁve dogs in particular. He was devoted to caring for the dogs in a kind and humane manner. No evidence points to Ryan’s actions or conduct contributing at all to cause his death.
Information from the Bristol County District Attorney's Office.