Editor’s note: The information from the court filing included in this article gives a graphic account of the injuries sustained in the fatal dog attack that readers may find disturbing.
One of the dogs that attacked and killed a 9-year-old Mount Vernon boy last month had acted aggressively toward the Taylor family more than once, according to a wrongful death suit filed against Trey Wyatt and his girlfriend, Lisa Young.
Trey Edgar Wyatt, 26, is currently behind bars without bond and facing a felony tampering with physical evidence charge after his dogs reportedly attacked and killed 9-year-old Robert “Robby” Taylor on May 28. The sheriff’s office has said it also expects Wyatt to be charged with “multiple county ordinances including: nuisance animals and hazardous animals running at large, liability of animals that attack a human being and keeping of a dangerous dog.”
Though formal charges regarding the apparent dog attack were not filed in Faulkner County Circuit Court as of Thursday, defense attorney Robert Newcomb has requested the court issue a gag order in his client’s cases after the Taylor family filed a wrongful death suit against Wyatt and his girlfriend.
The defense attorney said he believes attorneys on both sides of the case and the sheriff’s office should be barred “from making any comments to the media or in public” regarding Wyatt’s prior assault case, the pending tampering with physical evidence case and the recently-filed civil suit.
The Vilonia man was charged with aggravated assault, a Class D felony, and second-degree interference with emergency communication, a Class B misdemeanor, in December 2019 after he reportedly choked and pinned his pregnant girlfriend down onto a bed.
Attorney David R. Hogue, who represents Robby’s parents – Robert and Lyndsay Taylor – filed a civil complaint against Wyatt and Young on Monday. The complaint accuses the couple of wrongful death, strict liability, negligence and two counts each of trespassing and nuisance.
The day Robby was attacked by Wyatt and Young’s dogs “began as normal,” according to the complaint.
When the 9-year-old boy and his 10-year-old sister woke up on May 28, the two “piled up blankets and pillows in front of the TV and started to watch a movie.”
Robby had two sisters.
The family’s dog started barking as the two children watched the movie, so they went to see what it was barking at when they found an abandoned puppy in the family’s carport. Soon after the two brought the puppy inside, the 10-year-old and Robby’s 15-year-old sister gave it a bath “because it was covered in fleas and ticks.”
While his sisters cleaned the puppy, Robby asked his mother if he could go outside to check the mail.
Robby never returned from the 300-yard walk from the mailbox to the Taylor family’s home.
The young boy was attacked by “two or more dogs” at the end of the family’s driveway. One of the dogs was the same brown pit bull that broke a glass door at the family’s home two weeks prior. In the previous incident (on May 14), two pit bulls broke a glass door on the family’s porch as they tried “to get into a metal cage containing chickens,” the complaint states. The complaint also points out that the brown pit bull seen running away from Robby’s mangled body on May 28 is the same dog that killed 20 chickens on the property and “growled and acted aggressively” toward a young boy.
Wyatt’s girlfriend previously told Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office deputies that the dogs’ shock collars stopped working and that she “had ordered replacements.”
When Robby’s body was found in a field near the Taylors’ home, the county coroner noted his injuries were consistent with injuries caused by a dog’s canine teeth.
According to the wrongful death complaint, investigative reports show that Robby attempted to fight off the vicious dogs.
“Robby was unable to overcome the dogs and eventually fell in the field,” the complaint reads in part. “The dogs ripped his face apart, including detaching his right eye and removing it completely from the socket. There was major trauma to the left side of his face as well. There were severe and deep wounds to his right upper arm, as well as puncture wounds on the right arm, neck, and chest areas. Robby succumbed to his injuries while laying in a puddle of water in the field.”
Robby asked to check the mail around 9 a.m.
His mother called 911 at 9:17 a.m. as she and the boy’s sisters searched for him. Robby’s mother found his shoes and the umbrella he was carrying when he left to check the mail in the driveway, and his 15-year-old sister found his “bloody and mangled body” around 9:29 a.m.
“[The 15-year-old] screamed when she came upon the gruesome sight, alerting Lyndsay that she had found something truly terrible. She, too, went into the field and saw her child’s mauled body. She stayed with him until well after law enforcement and first responders arrived,” the complaint states.
Since Robby was killed by the vicious dog attack, his parents and sisters “have suffered from nightmares and difficulty sleeping,” Hogue said.
Robby’s parents and his 15-year-old sister, who saw the boy’s maimed body up close, now suffer from flashbacks and also have panic attacks.
The Taylors are seeking a jury trial against Wyatt and his girlfriend, alleging the two caused the wrongful death of their 9-year-old son.
“The value of this young man’s life, the future lost, and the lifelong anguish of the siblings and parents is far too great to put into words,” Hogue wrote in the complaint against Wyatt and Young.
A motion hearing regarding the wrongful death complaint and the defense team’s request for a gag order is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. July 1 in Faulkner County Circuit Court.