Pinellas deputies: Mother, teen injured in dog attack

By Saundra Weathers, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, November 24, 2017, 9:31 PM EST

A mother and one of her two daughters were injured and transported to a local hospital after they were attacked by one of their dogs in their Safety Harbor home, according to Pinellas County deputies.

  • Incident occurred at home on 700 West Gate Drive
  • Heidi Cooper, 45, Meaghan Tokay, 14, suffered non life-threatening injuries
  • Dog found deceased in front yard of home

Deputies said Heidi Cooper, 45, and her two daughters, Meaghan Tokay, 14, and Sierra Wilson, 22, live in the house with three pit bulls. Investigators on the scene following the attack learned that one of the dogs, 'Buster', was known to be aggressive and kept in a separate room.

Deputies were called to the house around 4:07 p.m. after Buster reportedly got loose inside the house and attacked the other two dogs. When Cooper and her daughters attempted to stop the attack, Buster turned on them.

While they tried to fend Buster off, Cooper and Tokay suffered multiple bite wounds to their arms and legs. Cooper was seriously injured.

Wilson then stabbed the dog multiple times with a knife in order to stop its attack. The dog died at the scene shortly afterward, according to deputies.

All three women were transported to Bayfront Medical for treatment of injuries. Pinellas County Animal Services responded to the scene and took possession of Buster's remains.

Neighbors react

Cooper's neighbor, Joe Goulart, said he heard the cries for help from inside the house while he was outside his own home.

"Thought I heard screams, saying 'Help, help, please help," Goulart explained. "So I decided to go down the street to see what was going on. I did see a woman that was outside just screaming for help. But she said, "Stay back, stay back." Sounds like she said a dog loose and will attack."

Another neighbor, Pete Peterson, told us he saw the house's residents after the attack.

"There was a young woman laying on her back in the driveway, and medical people were all around her, and I could see there was blood on her legs and they were giving her IV’s, and I thought there was something heavy duty going on here," Peterson said. "And they went up the side of the house and they brought the children’s mother out -- an older lady -- and they took her off in the gurney, and I thought 'What the heck is going on here?'"

We also spoke to Nikki Cagen, who told us her boyfriend is Buster's owner. She told us she was surprised to hear how everything happened in the house.

"I was completely shocked," Cagen said. "I had no idea what to say. I never would have thought this would happen, like, never."

The other two dogs currently are still at the house. Animal Control officers said they would test Buster's remains for rabies, and that because the other dogs didn't attack any humans, they would not be removed from the home.