Man who suffered heart attack during pit bull attack says tougher laws needed

A harrowing day for one Mint Hill man could have larger repercussions for owners of pit bulls in the community. Bill Williamson, who lives on Dan Hood Road, suffered a heart attack last Friday as he confronted the owner of two pit bulls that were attacking a horse on Williamson’s property.
Williamson, 63, said he was told by Mint Hill Police that his heart had stopped and he had no pulse just before the police applied Automated External Defibrillator pads and resuscitated him.
“Without them, I would be dead,” Williamson said of the police.
Williamson, who had triple-bypass surgery just 10 months ago, said this is the second time the two pit bulls have attacked the horse on his pasture. On January 22, he said he walked out into the pasture and noticed the two dogs were hanging by the horses legs. He called Mint Hill Police and Mecklenburg Animal Control, but by the time they had arrived, the dogs had already returned to their owners property. Because of this, Animal Control said they could not do anything about the dogs or the owner.
“I think there’s something horrendously wrong with our laws,” Williamson said later. “That human beings have to live in fear of someone else’s pets.”
After the second incident on Friday, Animal Control did take the dogs away from the owner. According to Williamson, a hearing date has been set for the owner to try to get his dogs back. Williamson said his neighbors have already signed a petition stating that the dogs are a threat and should not be returned. He and his neighbors plan on attending the hearing.
The pit bull incident is the second in Mint Hill in recent months. Just before Christmas, a pit bull attacked 6-year-old Jakob Clark of Mint Hill. Clark suffered serious injuries and was in the hospital for days after the attack.
The Mint Hill Board of Commissioners are looking into tightening its aggressive animal ordinances. Mint Hill Police Chief Tim Ledford has already sent a report to the commissioners about dog laws in other towns.
Williamson said the second time the dogs attacked the horse he and his sons immediately got their guns to try to remove the pit bulls. The sons went out into the pasture, while Williamson stayed on the deck. He said he did fire his gun at the dogs.
When Mint Hill Police arrived, they too went out into the pasture to remove the dog.
“I called the Mint Hill Police because obviously the last time I called Animal Control, it didn’t work,” he said.
Williamson said he got into a “verbal confrontation” with the owner of the dogs and that’s when he suffered the heart attack. Williamson’s sons tried to resuscitate him, but it didn’t work. Mint Hill Police officers Sgt. Daniel Forster and Officer Keith Mickovic then ran back across the pasture and applied the AED.
Williamson said he’s feeling better now, but is still unable to go back to work, which he said is costing him income.
The horse, a 32-year-old which is owned by a family friend, suffered a ripped nose and will have scars as result of the attacks. The pasture is about a quarter of a mile from where the dogs stay.
Williamson said there should be tougher dog laws to prevent this from happening again. He noted that when his grandson visits, he is afraid to play in the yard because of the dogs. Williamson said he too is afraid.
“I don’t feel free if I can’t walk out in my own yard because my neighbor’s attack dogs are running loose,” he said. “This isn’t right that people h ave to live in fear.”

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