Pit Bull Kills 59-Year-Old Woman While Her Grandson Watches

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

Cindy Whisman, a 59-year-old grandmother, was killed on Monday by a family Pit Bull in her backyard in the 4700 block of Eck Road, Madison Township, Ohio, as her two-year-old grandson watched, according to Butler County Sheriffs.

The tragic incident occurred at about 1:10 p.m. Sheriffs received a 911 call from a neighbor who witnessed the attack at 1:03 p.m., reports WCPO-TV.

Sheriff’s deputies confirm that Cindy Whisman, 59, was dead when they arrived at her home. Her husband was home but said he did not hear anything.  A neighbor stated that Mr. Whisman had serious health issues and rarely left the house.

The neighbor who called 911 told the dispatcher that she had seen a woman being attacked by her dog, and asked them to “hurry,” saying, ““It’s a pit bull; she’s all bloody.”  the Dayton Daily News reports.

Julie Whisman, Cindy’s daughter, said she had moved in with her mother just two months ago. Cindy's family said she and her grandson were almost inseparable.

Julie told  WCPO-TV that she received the call about the attack while she was at work and she was shocked because there had been no problems with the dog, named Polo, prior to that day.

An supervisor from the dog warden’s office said the dog had blood on its chest when deputies arrived and was “very aggressive” when they tried to remove it from the home. The Pit Bull and another dog in the yard—later also identified by Julie Whisman as a Pit Bull--are now in the care of the Butler County Animal Friends Humane Society. The second dog was not involved in the attack, according to reports.

It is unknown what caused the dog to attack Whisman, said Sergeant Melissa Gerhardt with the Sheriff’s Department. Detectives said the victim suffered injuries to her face, neck and body, according to

A next-door neighbor, Wayne Walker, 79, told reporters that another neighbor ran up to him screaming that Whisman’s dog was attacking her, so he grabbed his walking stick and ran next door, where he found the 2-year-old boy also in the yard unharmed.

He said he hit the dog and it yelped and ran away. but he could see Cindy Whisman was dead.  He told, “It looked like it (the dog) took a chunk of her throat out around the jugular.”

Julie Whisman confirmed her son and another dog were in the backyard when the attack occurred. 

She identified both dogs as pit bulls, and told WCPO she’d had the one who attacked Cindy since he was a puppy. "It just doesn't add up to me," she said. "My son could sit on him, lay on him."

Julie Whisman will have the option to go through a hearing process to get the dog. If she does not file an appeal the dog will be euthanized after the sheriff's investigation is complete, the sheriff's office 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, reports

WCPO reports that neighboring Hamilton County Health Department data showed 38 bite incidents involving pit bulls or pit bull-mix breeds as of May 11, 2014, with 74 total pit bull bite incidents reported in 2013.

“These type of tragedies are happening way too often, family pet or not," said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.


In a 2010 article, the Toledo Free Press wrote about Tom Skeldon, former Lucas County Dog Warden, “Even though he resigned Jan. 31 amid media and political pressure for euthanizing too many dogs, including pit bulls, he is still worried — about people.”

There were no deaths by pit bull during his 22 years as dog warden, says Skeldon, but he warned, “This spring, summer, fall, here in Toledo, there will be a number of people mauled, maimed, disfigured and there may be somebody killed by a pit bull,” Skeldon told the Free Press.

This is why he made that prediction. An Ohio law that went into effect three months before Skeldon became dog warden in October 1987, which said, “dogs commonly known as pit bulls” are inherently vicious and subject to certain regulations, was ruled unconstitutional and replaced.

The Free Press explains, “That law was recently declared unconstitutional by Judge Michael Goulding, and the new law limits residents to owning one “pit bull” or “pit bull” mix and requires owners to keep their animal leashed and muzzled when not on their property. A violation is a first-degree misdemeanor offense, which is compromised by the judge’s ruling, Skeldon said.”

John Dinion, executive director of the humane society told the Free Press, “We are really looking at dog behavior and owner responsibility. We want it to be preventative.”

Dinon said when Skeldon retired and Julie Lyle took his place, people might have worried about public safety. But they don’t need to be. “We are really working hard to be a safe community …,” he said.

When Julie Lyle replaced Tom Skelton, she explained that her staff is only enforcing the state law--not the city law—because the stricter rules would limit her options, the Free Press points out. For instance, state law allows for owning more than one pit bull.

But Tom Skeldon still told the Free Press that no one can convince him that pit bulls make good family pets. “The No. 1 biting dog is the pit bull and, since 1982, there has never been a year where pit bulls didn’t account for about half of fatal and disfiguring attacks,” he said.

“Pit bulls are bred to grab ahold, hang on, shake and not let go. They are bred to kill. And they are very, very good at it.”  Read entire article by the Toledo Free Press at


On July 23, 2014, recent Pit Bull attacks in Ohio were reviewed by NBCs Bryant Maddrick—in Cincinnati, an 8 year old girl needing 218 stitches to her lip; in Dayton, a 7-month-old baby was killed by a pit bull—and Tom Skeldon had a chance to say, “I told you so.”

Skeldon says a state law which removed pit bulls from the definition of a vicious dog “needs to be changed back.”

Before 2012, pit bulls were defined as vicious, but lawmakers updated terms such as vicious, dangerous, and nuisance without regard to breed, Maddrick reports.

Tom Skeldon told NBC the amended law was a mistake. "At the rate we're going, you're going to have a lot more deaths due to dogs.”

“And, it doesn't have to be that way," he said.

Sources: WCPO, AJC, Toldeo Free Press, NBC 24