BOWLER, WISCONSIN — A family is in mourning after a mother loses her life defending her son against their family dog, who they believe began attacking the 4-year-old after a loud noise startled him. The boy’s mother, Heather Pingel, then went in to save her son, ultimately being attacked as well.
The child received dozens of stitches in the aftermath, but his mother wasn’t so lucky.
The incident happened when the mother was at home with her son, and the mother’s boyfriend, Shane Bernarde, was out at his brother’s home.
“When Shane returned home that afternoon, he said Heather was in the bathroom with the door closed and she told him that Damion had fallen down the steps and she didn’t know where he was, according to a police report from the Shawano County Sheriff’s Office. After he located the boy in the living room, Shane returned to the bathroom and found the family’s pit bull attacking Heather” via Wausau Daily Herald.
Shane told police that he grabbed the dog and pulled him outside, grabbed a pistol, and shot the dog. During the incident, Shane was also bit.
Heather was found in the bathroom with severe injuries to her arms and other parts of her body, and was struggling to breathe. At the hospital, she was suffering from kidney failure, and both of her arms required amputation. Sadly, Heather did not survive her injuries.
This isn’t the first time their dog has been aggressive, according to the police report. Family members say that even though aggressive behavior was seen in the past, the couple loved animals and couldn’t part with the dog.
The dog, by the way, outweighed Heather by 30 pounds.
I know that hindsight is 20/20, but we need to see things for what they are, and that includes realizing when an animal is being aggressive, especially if they’re living with children.
A GoFundMe has been set up and as of this writing, has received over $46,000 in donations for the family.