UDPATE: Julie Whisman, the woman whose dog attacked and killed her 59-year-old mother on Monday at their Ohio home, has relinquished the dog to the county following the completion of the sheriff's investigation.
“At this time, no charges will be filed. The detectives found no evidence that this dog had been aggressive in the past,” said Lt. Mike Craft of the Butler County Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff’s deputies said Cindy Whisman, 59, was dead when they arrived at her ranch-style home in Madison Township about 1:10 p.m. Monday. A 911 call was received at 1:03 p.m. from a neighbor who told dispatchers that she saw a woman being attacked by a dog, according to sheriff’s officials.
Because the dog, named Polo, killed a person, it is considered unadoptable and will be euthanized, Craft said.
Meg Stephenson, executive director of Animal Friends Humane Society, said that given the scenario, “placement of the dog is not an option."
Julie Whisman told Cox Media Group Ohio on Tuesday the she was undecided about whether she wanted the dog back.
Detectives have taken DNA from the dog, described as a pit bull by the owner, to determine the exact breed of the dog, which the dog wardens believe may be part Preso Canario.
But exactly what caused the dog to attack remains unknown, Craft said.
This is a breaking news update. Below is the original story from Cox Media Group Ohio.
ORIGINAL STORY: A 59-year-old woman died Monday after being attacked by her daughter’s pit bull in the backyard of her home in Madison Township, Ohio, officials said.
According to the Dayton Daily News, sheriff’s deputies confirmed that Cindy Whisman, 59, was dead when they arrived at her home at about 1:10 p.m. A 911 call was received at 1:03 p.m. from a neighbor who told dispatchers that she had seen a woman being attacked by her dog, according to sheriff’s officials.
In the frantic 911 call recording, a woman can be heard screaming for help and breathlessly trying to tell dispatchers about the attack.
“Hurry! My neighbor’s dog is biting her,” the woman tells the dispatcher between cries for help. “It’s a pit bull; she’s all bloody.”
Kurt Merbs, Butler County’s assistant dog warden supervisor, confirmed the dog is believed to be a pit bull-Presa Canario mix.
According to Butler County records, of the 694 pit bulls registered in the county, none were listed at Whisman’s address.
Cindy Whisman’s daughter, Julie Whisman, told WCPO-TV that her mother was at her home watching her 2-year-old son when she received the call of the attack while at work.
She and family members were “shocked” by what happened, she said. There had been no problems with the dog, who is named Polo, before Monday, she said.
“As far as I know, my neighbor told me she saw her and the dog outside,” said Julie Whisman, who had moved in with her mother just two months ago. “She thought they were playing back and forth like this, then all of a sudden, she saw her on the ground and kept saying, 'Polo, Polo,' because that was the dog’s name, and she was rolling over, so she (the neighbor) called 911 and then she didn’t see her no more.”
Merbs said the red-and-white colored dog had blood on its chest when deputies arrived and was “very aggressive” as attempts were made to remove it from the home. He said it took two people using two pole snares to secure the animal, which is now in the hands of the Butler County Animal Friends Humane Society. A second dog — a black Labrador retriever — was also removed from the home as a safety precaution, Merbs said.
Sgt. Melissa Gerhardt, of the sheriff’s office, said Whisman’s husband was home at the time of the attack, but he told investigators that he did not hear any screams. It is unknown what provoked the dog to attack Whisman, Gerhardt said. Detectives said the woman suffered injuries to her face, neck and body.
Reporters knocked on the doors of the neighbor who called 911, but no one answered. A small, red sign that read “Beware of Dog” could be seen on the Whismans’ front door.
Wayne H. Walker, 79, who lives next door to Whisman, said he was outside doing yard work with headphones on when another neighbor ran up to him screaming about Whisman being attacked by her dog. He said he grabbed his walking stick and immediately ran next door.
“I didn’t think to go get my gun in the house,” Walker said.
When he arrived next door, Walker said Whisman’s 2-year-old grandson was standing in the yard and the dog was “still right there with Cindy, licking her face.” Walker said he knew Whisman “was dead right away” and that it appeared as though she had been bitten multiple times around the face area.
“It looked like it (the dog) took a chunk of her throat out around the jugular,” he said.
At that point, Walker hit the dog across the face with his walking stick and the dog ran away, he said. He immediately grabbed the child and went inside Whisman’s house. The child did not appear to be injured, Walker said.
Walker, who has known Whisman for 40 years, said her husband has health issues and rarely leaves their house.
“It was a terrible thing that happened to her,” he said. “She was a good woman.”
Julie Whisman called her mother her best friend.
“Great sweet, loving lady, would do anything for anybody. She loved her grandson more than you would ever know,” she said.
Detectives roped of the entire backyard for several hours while investigating. Whisman’s body was removed from behind the shed in the yard by an investigator from the Butler County Coroner’s Office about 3 p.m.
Family members will have the option to get ownership of the dog back, pending a court hearing and an order by a judge, detectives said. If they opt to not keep the dog, it will be euthanized after the investigation is complete, detectives said. Julie Whisman told WCPO she does not want the dog back.
Monday’s dog attack was the fourth serious dog mauling — and third fatality — to happen in southwest Ohio this year. It is the first fatal dog attack in Butler County since 1998, according to sheriff’s officials.