Retired professor and wife killed by pack of dogs, say police

By Calvin Palmer

Police today said that a pack of dogs was responsible for the death of a retired college professor and his wife whose mutilated bodies were found on a rural road in northeast Georgia at the weekend.

Lothar Karl Schweder, 77, and Sherry Schweder, 65, likely died of injuries suffered in a dog attack, Oglethorpe County Sheriff Mike Smith said.

Smith said officials were going to round up at least 11 dogs seen in the area where the couple’s mutilated bodies were found Saturday morning by five passers-by near the couple’s home in Lexington.

When Oglethorpe County Corner James Matthews arrived at the scene, the dogs belonging to Howard Thaxton, who no longer lives on the property, were guarding their alleged prey.

“They were not aggressive whatsoever,” Matthews said. “I guess that’s what makes the attack so hard to figure out.”

Sherry Schweder was out looking for one of her six dogs when she was attacked. Her husband was killed after he went looking for his wife, Matthews said.

He believed the couple died instantly in “a vicious attack”.

One neighbor said she did not believe Thaxton’s mongrel dogs were responsible for the attack.

“I’ve been down there before and they barely looked up,” said Jeannette Bridges, who lives on Elberton Road a few houses away from where the Schweders resided

Her husband, Lanier Bridges, said the dogs remained on the property after medical problems forced Thaxton to move away. A friend would bring Thaxton over to feed the dogs.

“Those dogs have been around for years,” Lanier Bridges said. “We never had a problem with them.”

Matthews said Thaxton’s dogs, rounded up this afternoon by animal control officers from a neighboring county, showed no signs of malnourishment or rabies.

Lothar Karl Schweder was a retired professor who had taught German at the University of Georgia.

Sherry Schweder was a bibliographer at the university’s library, where she had worked since 1974 selecting books and journals for the school’s humanities collection.

[Based on reports by The Atlanta JournalConstitution and Associated Press.]

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