Trial Underway For Man Accused In Dog Pack Attack Of 9-Year-Old


NEW BOSTON, Texas–Testimony from eight witnesses was heard Tuesday in the trial of a Bowie County man whose pack of dogs allegedly wounded a 9-year-old boy after he reportedly ignored multiple warnings about the vicious canines.

Ray Lee Cockrell, 60, is facing a charge of attack by dog resulting in serious bodily injury and injury to a child by omission connected to a Sept. 5, 2022, incident. If convicted of injury to a child, he faces five to 99 years or life in prison while the attack by dog charge is punishable by two to ten years.

Cockrell was repeatedly warned by law enforcement about the reportedly menacing pack of canines but allegedly did nothing to control them, according to a probable cause affidavit. The boy and some friends were walking back to his grandmother’s house after swimming in Gifford Hill pond when the attack occurred.

A 12-year-old relative of the alleged victim, who was transported by ambulance to a Texarkana hospital for treatment of wounds to his arms and torso, provided Bowie County Sheriff’s Office investigators with an eyewitness account.

Cockrell’s allegedly unruly dogs had been the subject of multiple complaints since July, according to the affidavit.

“With just the incidents reported to the sheriff’s office, Ray Cockrell’s dogs have been identified as the animals that have chased livestock, were aggressive to humans, have killed a neighbor’s dog and have now caused a terrible injury to a 9-year-old child,” the affidavit said.

Deputies who feared they would be mauled reportedly shot at a group of 12 to 15 dogs on Cockrell’s property on Hickory Wood Drive in Texarkana on Aug. 25, 2022, after responding to a call about a man and his mother being intimidated by the animals that day on south State Line Avenue, the affidavit said.

A man riding a scooter near Cockrell’s house on Aug. 13, 2022, reported the dogs came at him, getting hold of his pants but not making contact with his skin. While deputies were responding to that call, they received a report that a horse in the area had been attacked resulting in punctures and cuts to the animal’s back legs.

The horse owner made a prior report on July 13, 2022, after two of their animals suffered dog bite injuries to their necks and legs, the affidavit said. Cockrell allegedly admitted to making no effort to pen his dogs and received a “dogs dangerous to animals” notice that date.

A neighbor allegedly complained on July 12, 2022, just a day before the first report of attacks on horses, that one of his dogs was killed after five of Cockrell’s dogs got into a pen on his property on south State Line Avenue.

“The deputy went to Ray Cockrell’s home, but due to being surrounded by about 10 aggressive dogs, the deputy contacted Texarkana animal control to assist him. Ray Cockerell was contacted, and an attempt was made to capture the dogs, but all of them escaped and Ray Cockrell left before the deputy did,” the affidavit said.

Assistant District Attorney Bradley Akins, who is representing the state, said all of the dogs have been euthanized and no longer pose a threat to the community.

A jury was chosen Tuesday and testimony began before 102nd District Judge Jeff Addison at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston.

Cockrell is represented by Deborah Moore of the Bowie County Public Defender’s Office.

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