Service set for Big Rock firefighter mauled by own dog

  • Dawn Brown

    Dawn Brown

Updated 11/16/2012 5:32 AM

A memorial service will be held Saturday for a Big Rock firefighter who died this week from injuries sustained in an attack by a dog she recently adopted.

Dawn Renee Brown, 44, was killed Monday at her home in Big Rock, and authorities said she died from injuries from a mastiff, one of the three dogs owned by Brown and her husband.


Brown served 5 years as a full-time firefighter/paramedic at the Bristol Kendall Fire Protection District in Yorkville, and as a volunteer firefighter for the Big Rock Fire Protection District since 2003.

A service will be held on 11 a.m. Saturday at the English Congregational United Church of Christ, 301 Rhodes Ave., Big Rock, and Rev. William Riegle will officiate. Brown was cremated earlier this week.

Michael Kalina, Bristol Kendall battalion chief, said Brown loved dogs and children and volunteered for the fire protection district's public education division, where she gave students tours of the station and visited elementary schools.

"She was a dog lover and this was one more addition to her family. She loved children, but didn't have children. This was her way of connecting with kids," Kalina said, adding that when a person dies, people tend to talk about the person's traits and ignore the bad.

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"With Dawn's case, there really was no bad. She really did live a good life. She was just a giving person."

Kalina said Brown and her husband had recently adopted a large, male mastiff and were acclimating him to their other two dogs, who also were rescue dogs.

"There was a little bit of turf wars with the two other dogs, but nothing out of the ordinary or aggressive," Kalina said. "She was happy with this dog and the progress he was making."

All three dogs, including a boxer and a pit bull mix, were being held at the Kane County Animal Control facility and it could take up to several days to determine what will be done with the mastiff, Kane County Sheriff's Department Lt. Pat Gengler said.

Gengler declined to elaborate on the injuries sustained by Brown, who was found Monday afternoon by her husband when he returned home from work. Gengler estimated the mastiff weighed about 140 pounds; he could not specify the exact breed of the mastiff.


The sheriff's office said Wednesday that an autopsy determined Brown died of wounds inflicted by the mastiff. Asked whether Brown could have been killed breaking up a fight between her dogs, Gengler said: "It's something the obviously goes through your mind, but we have no way to prove it. We literally have nothing pointing as to why this occurred. Everybody wishes we did, but we don't."

A woman who answered the phone at the Kane County Coroner's Office said the office was not releasing any information about Brown's death. A Freedom of Information Act request seeking additional information about her autopsy was denied Thursday.

Memorials in Brown's memory may be sent to the Dawn Brown Educational Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 665, Oswego, Ill., 60543.

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