One pit bull shot at each scene after attacking rescuers
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois; TAYLORSVILLE, Utah––The pit bull attack deaths of Jonathan Mendenhall, 34, in Springfield, Illinois, and Sandra Miller, 63, in Taylorsville, Utah, on November 6 and November 7, 2023, ran the year’s total of pit bull attack fatalities in the U.S. and Canada to 47, and in the U.S. alone to 46.
Both numbers are new single-year records, with eight weeks left in the year.
Altogether, 57 Americans and Canadians have died in dog attacks thus far in 2023, only five behind the 2022 record total of 62.
Springfield pit bull attacked passers-by who tried to give victim CPR
Mendenhall, reported the Sangamon County Coroner’s Office, was found “outside of a residence and unresponsive. While resuscitative efforts were underway, he was bitten several times.”
Summarized WICS Newschannel 20, an ABC affiliate, “According to the Springfield Police Department, officers arrived on the scene and found a pit bull attacking a man lying on the ground.
“We’re told the officer shot and killed the dog.
“We’re told two people found Mendenhall unresponsive and tried to give him cardiopulmonary resuscitation before officials arrived.
“The pit bull then became aggravated and attacked all three of them. The two people trying to help Mendenhall sustained minor injuries.
Pit bull owner unknown
“Mendenhall’s official cause of death has not yet been finalized,” WICS noted, pending completion of toxicology reports, which typically takes six weeks or more.
The toxicology data may clarify the exact role that the pit bull had in Mendenhall’s death, but regardless of whether Mendenhall died from his multiple bite wounds, or a heart attack, stroke, or fall under the stress of the pit bull attack, or simply because the pit bull interfered with the “resuscitative efforts” that might have saved him, he was a pit bull victim.
Whose pit bull attacked Mendenhall is unclear. His posted photographs were mostly of his children, but he did post a photo of a pit bull with a heart in April 2023.
Mauled the hand that fed them
Sandra Dee Miller, of Taylorsville, a Salt Lake City suburb, was reportedly attacked in mid-afternoon on Halloween 2023 while feeding a pack of seven pit bulls, including a mother pit bull, the father pit bull, and their five puppies.
The pit bulls apparently belonged to one of Miller’s four sons, only one of whom was immediately identified in local media reports. Three other sons were mentioned by first names and their wives’ names only in a funeral announcement published many days later.
Miller herself, though badly injured, managed to telephone for help.
“When police and paramedics arrived at the scene,” reported Melanie Porter for Scripps News Services, “they were aggressively greeted by the pack and found the injured woman still surrounded.
Pepper spray failed
“Officials used pepper spray to get the dogs contained in a group, while paramedics rushed into the yard to get the woman, breaking a fence in the process,” Porter said.
But the pepper spray did not prevent the adult female pit bull from charging the rescuers. Eventually police shot the female pit bull so that the paramedics could safely get Miller to an ambulance.
Miller suffered extensive injuries to her legs, hands, and face, leading to the emergency amputation of one of her legs, but that was not enough to save her.
Legalsi reportedly surrendered all six of the surviving pit bulls to West Valley Animal Services.
None of the pit bulls were licensed
“The Taylorsville Police Department confirmed with ABC4 they have since been euthanized,” ABC4 reported.
“According to police,” ABC4 added, “none of the dogs were licensed and Taylorsville has a two-dog per household limit.”
Taylorsville has had severe pit bull attacks before, including an unprovoked attack in May 2012 on an eight-year-old as she walked home from a nearby public park.
“He just ripped out my muscle. And all the meat was hanging out,” the victim told media.