Victim identified in deadly dog attack; daughter charged with felony involuntary manslaughter

Published 11:34 am Friday, October 14, 2022

The victim in a deadly dog attack has been identified, and her daughter — the owner of the animals — has been charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct.

The victim was identified as 80-year-old Rosetta Gesselman, who was killed when three dogs killed her on Oct. 7 at 7:45 p.m.

According to a Troup County Sheriff’s Office press release,  Troup County 911 received a call from a resident on Terrace Drive in Troup County stating that an elderly female was screaming from a window that she needed help because her sister was being attacked by dogs inside the home.

Once deputies arrived on scene and entered the home, they made contact with Gesselman laying in the floor suffering from visible wounds. The deputy also encountered three large dogs in the home and had to deploy O/C spray in the direction of the dogs at which time they exited the home through a doggy door to the backyard. Emergency aid was then rendered to Gesselman,  who was transported to Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center where she later died of her injuries.

The Troup County Marshal’s Office responded to the scene to assist in the investigation and the capture of the dogs, which were one female pit bull mix and two male pit bull / great mastiff mixes. One of the dogs was captured and later euthanized and the other two had to be put down by first responders on the scene due to their aggressiveness, according to the press release. 

Through a joint investigation, the Troup County Marshal’s Office and the Criminal Investigations Division determined the dog’s owner, Tongia Gesselman, who is the daughter of the victim, knew the dogs had previously killed family pets and had also bit someone which required a hospital visit. 

These incidents were never reported by Tongia and at the time of this incident, Tongia was not home, according to TCSO.

Tongia Gesselman, 48, is being charged with reckless conduct and felony involuntary manslaughter.