Man killed by dog while trying to help dog’s ill owner
POSTED 7:47 AM, MARCH 9, 2015, BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
WHEELING, W.Va. — Police in West Virginia say a pit bull attacked and killed a man who was trying to help the dog’s ill owner.
The incident occurred Sunday night at a home in East Wheeling.
Lt. Phil Redford says police believe the dog’s owner suffered a heart attack. The other man was attacked by the dog as he tried to resuscitate the owner.
UPDATE: Names of Victims in Dog Attack Incident Released
WTRF.com – 3/9/15
Wheeling police have released the names of the victims.
Police said David Wallace, 63 of Wheeling, and Roy A. Higgenbotham Jr., 62 of Wheeling, died Sunday night.
In a press release, Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said that even though one of the victims was attacked by the dog on scene, the cause of death of both subjects remains undetermined. Schwertfeger also said investigators will rely heavily on the toxicologies and autopsies.
According to the news release, the dog involved in the incident remains in quarantine and in the care of the Ohio County Animal Control. The dog was not on the City of Wheeling register of Dangerous or Vicious Dogs.
Updated: Wheeling Man, Giving CPR, Attacked and Killed by Pit Bull
March 9, 2015
WHEELING -A local man is dead after a non-registered pit bull attacked him while he was trying to help the dog’s owner, who apparently had suffered a fatal heart attack at an East Wheeling residence on Sunday night.
The dog’s owner was identified as David Wallace, 63, of 131 14th Street, East Wheeling. The man who was performing CPR when he was attacked by the pit bull was identified as Roy A. Higginbotham Jr., 62, of Wheeling.
Wheeling Police Detective Sgt. Gregg McKenzie said the city of Wheeling Finance Department confirmed this morning that the dog was not registered through the city’s dangerous and vicious dog ordinance. Pit bull owners are required, by law, to register their animals with the city.
Police Sorting Out Fatal Dog Attack in East Wheeling
March 10, 2015
Initial reports indicate a pit bull terrier attacked one of the men while he was trying to help the dog’s owner, who apparently had suffered a fatal heart attack at 131 14th St. in East Wheeling.
Sgt. Gregg McKenzie said Monday that the city Finance Department confirmed the dog is not registered with the city’s Dangerous or Vicious Dog Registry.
McKenzie said the 911 call originated from within the home at 8:50 p.m. Sunday.
McKenzie said he could not confirm whether the second man was killed by the dog or suffered a heart attack after the dog attacked him. He said an autopsy will be done on both bodies to determine the causes of death.
A woman who identified herself as a relative of one of the victims said the second man died of a heart attack after the dog attacked him.
She also said emergency responders found a woman on the roof of the home when they arrived.
McKenzie declined to comment on that detail.
Autopsy Shows Man Died as Result of Pit Bull Attack in Wheeling
Higgenbotham Suffered Severed Radial Artery
March 13, 2015
WHEELING – Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger this morning said a preliminary autopsy report shows a man who was attacked by a dog Sunday in East Wheeling died as a result of the injuries he sustained during that attack.
The dog attacked Roy Higgenbotham, 62, as he was trying to revive David Wallace, 63, who had suffered a fatal heart attack at his 14th Street home. Higgenbotham suffered a severed radial artery near his left wrist. This injury was the direct result of a dog bite and resulted in the man’s death, according to the preliminary autopsy report.
An autopsy was not performed on Wallace. The investigation is continuing as officials await the results of additional forensic pathology reports and toxicology reports.
City Manager Robert Herron will have final say on whether the dog will be given to a family member or destroyed.
Dog From Fatal East Wheeling Attack Will Be Sent to Pennsylvania Rescue
WHEELING – Adoption could be in the future for Sheba, the pit bull terrier that attacked and killed a man in East Wheeling earlier this month, after the dog got a reprieve from City Manager Robert Herron.
Herron announced Wednesday he will authorize the dog’s release to the South Hills Pet Rescue and Rehabilitation Resort, a no-kill facility located in South Park, Pa., about 10 miles south of Pittsburgh, rather than have the animal euthanized.
“This is a licensed rehabilitation and placement organization with a licensed behavioral trainer that will make every effort to retrain and rehabilitate the dog,” Herron said.
The dog has been quarantined at the Ohio County Animal Shelter since March 8, when it attacked Roy Higgenbotham Jr., 62, as Higgenbotham was attempting to aid the dog’s owner, 63-year-old David Wallace Jr., who suffered an apparent fatal heart attack inside his 14th Street home. A preliminary autopsy report revealed a severed radial artery resulting from a dog bite as Higgenbotham’s cause of death.
2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Kills Man Trying to Save Heart Attack Victim in Wheeling
03/13/15: Death by Dog Bite Injury
On Friday, Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said that a preliminary autopsy report shows that a man who was attacked by a pit bull on Sunday in East Wheeling died as a direct result of the injuries he sustained during the attack. The dog attacked Roy Higgenbotham, 62, as he tried to assist his roommate David Wallace, 63, who had suffered a fatal heart attack. The dog bite injuries severed Higgenbotham’s radial artery near his left wrist directly causing his death.
Despite earlier reports indicating that autopsies would be performed on both men, an autopsy was not performed on Wallace. Also, despite Ohio County Dog Warden Doug McCroskey allegedly indicating to “would be rescuers” of the fatally attacking pit bull that he had authority over the fate of the animal — purportedly even appearing on a radio show, saying so publicly — this role falls to City Manager Robert Herron due to the nature of the attack and the city’s vicious dog ordinance.
City Manager Robert Herron will have final say on whether the dog will be given to a family member or destroyed.
Herron said because the dog is not registered on the city’s vicious dog registry and because of the attack on Higgenbotham, he has jurisdiction over the fate of the dog. The Wheeling Intelligencer, March 13, 2015
On March 10, Tamara Lightner, whose relationship to the victims is unknown, made the following claim in a Facebook post. The typos are her own, as are her many claims. We highlighted the suspect and “wishful thinking” portions. Police continue to investigate if this same pit bull was involved in a previous attack several weeks earlier in the same neighborhood. Deputy Police Chief Martin Kimball said that a female victim was bitten on the leg and required medical treatment.
For those following Sheba. Humane Officer Doug McCroskey was on Steve Novotney’s show tonight. The conversation really shined some hope down on Sheba and her fate. Doug talked about his first encounter with her. When he arrived she was behind an entertaintment stand in a bedroom. She never put up a fight with him and he walked her out to his truck. He says she is eating and does growl occassionally likely due to fear. She does not act aggressive. He stated if a family member wants her he would most definitely consider releasing her to them. Rescues have also contacted him something he too is not oppossed of. With that a paper releasing them from liability would need signed of course. There is no time frame on her fate and he isnt looking to rush family as they have been through a lot. Sheba has not had any encounters in the past as far as aggression goes. Before this she was a very happy loved dog whose world was shattered in a matter of minutes. As far as the victim it was noted he did not appear to have been mauled..he had 2 bite wounds(unsure location). This just leaves me to wonder if she was the cause of death ultimately… Tamara Lightner, March 10, 2015
03/10/15: “Revival” Slaps to the Face
The Washington Post reports new information, including that it was a few “revival” slaps to the face by Roy Higginbotham that launched the dog into attack mode. Apparently, Higginbotham did not even have a chance to administer CPR to his roommate David Wallace before Wallace’s pit bull attacked him. After kicking in the door to the home, police arrived to Higginbotham screaming for help as the dog attacked him and a woman hiding from the dog on the roof of the home.
After kicking in the door, officers went to an upstairs bedroom where they observed the victim on the floor of the bedroom being attacked by a white and brown pit bull with blood all over its face,” Deputy Police Chief Martin Kimball told The Post. “The dog came towards officers in an aggressive manner and then hid in a corner of the room. – The Washington Post, March 10, 2015
Kimball also said they believe the same pit bull may have attacked a pedestrian several weeks ago on the street, though he added no further details. Wheeling has an ordinance that classifies pit bulls and several other close breeds as “vicious.” The owners are required to carry a $100,000 liability insurance policy and keep the dog properly confined. This fatal attack, however, occurred inside of a home and the pit bull attacked a man well known to it who also lived in the home.3
Meanwhile, a local no-kill shelter is trying to save the attacking female pit bull. Webark Estates writes in a recent post, “We have contacted Best Friends Animal Society in Utah to ask them to step in and save this poor dog at the pound in Wheeling, WV.” Most of the commenters clamour the dog was, “just trying to protect his owner” and it was “only doing her job.” Beth Patsch chimes in, “She has always been a sweet, shy girl that loved those men to pieces and they adored her.”
Which certainly explains the dog’s “fatally attacking” behavior on Sunday.
It is unknown what will happen to the pit bull named Sheba, especially now in light of a possible previous attack by the animal. At this stage, with both autopsy results still pending, the cause of death remains unclear as well. Kimball states in The Post article that the only other person in the house at the time of the attack, the woman who later fled onto the roof to escape the dog, was in the room when Higginbotham was attacked. Both other witnesses to the dog attack are dead.
Roy Higgenbotham Jr.
Roy Higgenbotham Jr., 62-years old, bled to death after being attacked by his roommate’s pit bull. The victim was alerted that his roommate George Wallace had lost consciousness by Wallace’s girlfriend. Higgenbotham called 911 then rushed upstairs to help. According to police, he was giving Wallace several revival “slaps” to the face when Wallace’s pit bull attacked him. After kicking in the door to the home, police officers heard Higgenbotham screaming and rushed to an upstairs bedroom where they saw him on the floor being attacked by the pit bull, according to Deputy Police Chief Martin Kimball. The girlfriend, by this stage, had fled out a window onto the roof of the home in fear of the attacking dog. Both Higgenbotham and Wallace were rushed to a local hospital, where both men died. Wallace suffered a fatal heart attack. A preliminary autopsy report showed that Higgenbotham died as a direct result to the injuries he sustained during the attack. The dog severed his radial artery on his left arm. [source citations]
American Pit Bull Terrier
The American Pit Bull Terrier has a history and bloodline deep rooted in the blood sports of animal baiting and dogfighting. As with all breeds, they retain their original traits. They often to do not accept other animals, especially dogs, and can be extremely aggressive towards them. They may accept animals they are raised with, but have been known to kill other family pets even after years of living together happily.
Most APBT puppies get along fantastically with other animals, including dogs. Puppies often love to play with and have companionship with other animals. This often gives owners a false sense of security. As the APBT matures, their relationship with other animals can change drastically. Often dog aggression issues emerge from 1-3 years in age, but some dog’s exhibit aggression as early as 6 months of age. They often will actively seek out other dogs to engage in fighting with and have broken their collars, crashed through windows, and torn through fences to do so, and one recently leaped from an apartment 2nd story balcony, to get to a dog. They can get along with other dogs at times, but things can escalate quickly and they can attack suddenly and for no apparent reason. They often redirect onto humans who try to break up the fight14. Extreme caution should be used with all animal interactions and owners should never be completely comfortable. They can be unpredictable and a dog that plays nicely with dogs for years can suddenly change. Many owners have been shocked to see their beloved pet’s fighting instincts suddenly surface. It is highly recommended that the APBT is separated from other animals in the household when they cannot be supervised15. This is not a breed that is suitable for interactions at off leash dog parks16.
It is recommended that American Pit Bull Terrier owners have and carry a break stick17. A break stick is a device designed to open a Pit Bull type dog’s mouth while it is engaged in fighting. Pit Bull type breeds have a very distinctive fighting style and often will latch on their opponent and not let go. They usually will shake the other animal violently when they are latched on. This can cause horrific damage quickly. The break stick was designed by dog fighters to be inserted into the Pit Bull’s mouth and release his grip. The original purpose was to safely end a dog fight. The break stick often is the ONLY thing that will release the dog’s grip. People have been known to hit Pit Bulls with objects such as a bat or even shoot them and the dog still will not let go. Bully Breed owners should always have one handy in cause of an emergency. The break stick is not safe to use on other breeds of dogs and is only recommended for dogs in the Pit Bull family that were once used for dog fighting purposes.
Research is advised before selecting an APBT as a pet. They are often on the list of dogs that many landlords/property management companies do not allow. There are many American towns that have breed specific legislation or restrictions on certain breeds, including theAPBT. There are also many countries that have enacted restrictions or bans, such as the United Kingdom, that include the breed. It is wise to make sure your pet will be allowed into your community.
Breeds in the Pit Bull family are the most common surrendered and stray dog breeds in the animal sheltering system. They are also the most commonly euthanized dog breed. Owners are often unaware and unprepared for these breeds. While many families own bully breeds successfully and have only positive experiences with the breed, there are families they are not suited for. Because shelters are so full of APBTs and other Pit Bull types, it’s important to neuter your APBT rather than breeding it – for the sake of the APBTs themselves18. No dog lover wants to breed any kind of dog only to have it quickly end up in a shelter after it’s sold!
The American Pit Bull Terrier requires a minimal amount of grooming and only sheds lightly. They are prone to several medical issues such as hip dysplasia, cataracts, allergies, and heart disease. They usually weigh between 30-70 lbs and their average lifespan is about 12 years.