An Indiana pastor’s wife is remembering her husband of nearly 50 years as “a hero” after he died protecting her from two stray pit bulls that mauled him to death when he tried to chase them off their property on Tuesday.
"He was a hero,” she said.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department told Fox 59 that the attack from the pit bulls occurred around 10 a.m. on Tuesday when they were called to the city’s east side.
Holly Watkins explained that she and her grandmother were outside their home when the two dogs tried to attack them, but they ran inside their home. Watkins said her grandfather went outside to chase the dogs off their property and they responded with the attack.
"My granddaddy came out to try to shoo them away, and two pit bulls, I guess, they attacked him," Watkins told 13News.
Although she is remembering her husband as a hero, the pastor’s wife is in mourning, according to her daughter.
"My mother is distraught," Melissa Mundine told 13News. "These dogs are just loose, and they've been on the loose for weeks."
Kurt Christian, chief communications officer for the Indianapolis Animal Care Services, said in a statement cited by Fox 59 that a day before the pastor and his family were attacked, they had received a complaint about the stray dogs and “investigated reports of what was described as one brown and one black pit bull-type dog attacking people and dogs on the city’s near northeast side.”
“Officers were unable to locate the dogs in question at that time. According to procedure, IACS established a ‘sweep’ schedule wherein officers would be dispatched to the area those animals were last seen between three to four times a day for the next 10 days,” Christian explained.
He said an animal control officer was searching for the dogs in the area on Tuesday when they received a report that “two dogs were attacking a person in the 2300 block of North Kenyon Street.”
“After an ACO and EMS arrived on-scene, they requested IMPD and additional ACOs to assist. IMPD officers arrived and located a victim with injuries consistent with multiple dog bites. The victim was transported to an area hospital in critical condition,” Christian said.
One of the dogs had become so aggressive that an IMPD officer was forced to shoot it.
“An IMPD officer discharged their firearm at the aggressive dog, and an ACO did locate the wounded black dog to impound it,” he said.
Officials later confirmed that a brown pit bull that had eluded IACS officers was eventually caught, according to Fox 59.
The pastor’s family told 13News that aggressive dogs have been terrorizing their neighborhood regularly and they want whoever is responsible for their presence to be held accountable.
"Every day, they just come in people's yards," Watkins said Tuesday. "Like just last night, we were in the backyard — and they ran up on us — and we just had to kinda run and wait for them to leave."
"Find the dogs," the pastor’s daughter said. "Find the owners of the dogs and let's get this situation handled."