A Somerset single mother began having a seizure. Then her dog mauled her to death, authorities say.

“The details are still unclear why our family dog attacked my mother while having a seizure."

A 44-year-old single mother of three was mauled to death by her own dog while she was having a seizure inside her Somerset home on Friday, authorities said.

Now, Melissa Astacio’s three daughters are left to try to figure out how to go on without her. They started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for her funeral. As of around 3 p.m. on Monday, it had raised over $12,000, surpassing its initial $10,000 goal.

“I don’t know how or what to do,” daughter Elysandra Astacio wrote on the GoFundMe page.

Melissa Astacio’s 13-year-old daughter called 911 when Astacio, who authorities say was prone to seizures, was attacked by the dog, thought to be an 8-year-old pit bull, around 5:20 p.m.


When police and emergency personnel arrived at the 229 Lees River Ave. home, they tased the dog to be able to treat Astacio. She was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital where she died around 6:20 p.m., a news release from the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office said. Foul play is not suspected.

The dog was removed from the home and placed in quarantine at the Swansea Animal Rescue, the release said.

“The details are still unclear why our family dog attacked my mother while having a seizure,” Elysandra Astacio wrote on GoFundMe. 

In an interview with WCVB, Heaven Astacio, one of Melissa’s daughters, said she believes the dog, Amigo, was only trying to help her mother, and she doesn’t want to see him euthanized.

“I don’t know what to make of it, but I know that [it] wasn’t on purpose,” Heaven Astacio said. “What happened that night, it never happened like that before. I don’t want to see my dog get put down for something that he was only trying to help with.”


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