A pit bull attacked and killed a man who was trying to help the dog’s ill owner in a home in East Wheeling, W.Va., authorities said.
Wheeling police said Roy Higgenbotham Jr., 62, of Wheeling, was attacked by the pit bull shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday in a home in the 100 block of 14th Street.
The dog’s owner, David Wallace, 63, also of Wheeling, was also found dead in the house, according to police.
Lt. Phil Redford said police believe Mr. Wallace suffered a heart attack and that Mr. Higgenbotham was attacked by the dog as he tried to resuscitate the owner.
“This wasn’t a vicious, unprovoked attack from this dog,” Wheeling police Sgt. Gregg McKenzie said. “It was probably defending its owner.”
An official cause of death will be determined once autopsies are completed.
Police and other emergency responders were called to the home regarding a dog attack and had to force their way into the residence, where they found both victims.
Mr. Higgenbotham was badly injured and Mr. Wallace was unconscious. Both were taken to local hospitals, where they were pronounced dead, police said.
Ohio County animal control officers removed the pit bull from the home and it has been quarantined.
Because the owner of the dog is dead, it will likely be euthanized unless a family member comes forward to claim it, said Tom Oberdick, Ohio County assistant dog warden. A judge will make the final decision on euthanization, he said.
Mr. Oberdick said the pit bull cannot be put up for adoption.
Police said the pit bull was not on the Wheeling register of dangerous or vicious dogs.
The Associated Press contributed.
First Published March 9, 2015 6:39 AM