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Police trying to help a woman had to kill a pit bull to get to her, only to discover she was dead.

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Department received an emergency 911 call on, the evening of Saturday Sept. 1, from a distraught man who reported he and a 61-year-old woman had been viciously attacked by a 120 lb. pit bull, at a residence located on Proctor Road, off J Road, in Gravois Mills. The woman was said to be dog-sitting for the Proctor Road residents. 

According to Morgan County Sheriff Norman Dills, the man said when he went to the house to check on the woman, he found her on the ground, and as he tried to help her, he was attacked by a pit bull. He managed to escape the pit bull, go to a different location, and call 911. 

According to Sheriff Dills, the responding EMS personnel found the woman lying on the floor, but were unable to get to her to treat her, because of the aggressive dog. Sheriff Dills reported that two people had previously been attacked by the same pit bull. Officials were forced to put the dog down to get to the woman. It was then that they found her to be deceased. The identity of the woman will not be released until the family is notified. 

The medical examiner confirmed the cause of the woman’s death was a heart attack. 

“It would be hard to determine if the dog had attacked her before or after the heart attack,” Sheriff Dills said. “The medical examiner determined she died of a heart attack, not from the injuries she sustained in the dog attack. It would be hard to speculate.” According to the medical examiner, the woman was found approximately one-hour after her death. 

According to Sheriff Dills, one of the two persons bit by the dog was taken to the hospital, where they underwent surgery for injuries sustained, and they are now in stable condition. 

Morgan County does not have any breed-specific dog laws which ban or restrict ownership of dog breeds believed to be responsible for the most serious attacks on people. Pit bull–type dogs are the poster child of breed laws, but they can also apply to Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and other large breeds. 

Nearly 90 million dogs are owned as pets in this country, according to the American Pet Products Association. Those relationships are usually peaceful, but not always. More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to dogsbit.org, in the 13-year period between January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2017, canines killed at least 433 Americans. Pit bulls contributed to 66 percent of these deaths. Rottweilers, the second leading canine killer, inflicted 10 percent of attacks that resulted in human death. Combined, the two dog breeds accounted for 76 percent of the total recorded deaths.

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