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Pit bulls attack Bedford man

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By Tom Wilmoth

A 62-year-old Bedford man was attacked by several pit bulls in an incident last Tuesday that required the victim to be airlifted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital because of the extent of his wounds.

Bedford County 911 dispatchers received a call at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday from a woman reporting that four dogs had attacked her husband at 1298 Old Country Road. Bedford County Animal Control Deputies and the Moneta Rescue Squad responded to the address, according to the report from the Bedford County Sheriff's Office.

On arrival, the deputies found that William Holland was the victim of the attack. He was transported by Life Guard 10 from the scene to Roanoke Memorial Hospital with numerous injuries to his legs. According to his wife, Lois Holland, the four pit bulls attacked him as he was walking to a neighbor?s house. She said she heard dogs barking and heard her husband yell. She opened the door, he came in and she then called 911.

Deputies later learned that three of the pit bulls belonged to Robert Holland, the victim?s nephew. The fourth pit bull belonged to Terry Holland, the victim?s sister-in-law and Robert?s mother. Both live at 1288 Old Country Road, according to Major Ricky Gardner of the Bedford County Sheriff's Office.

Gardner said William Holland had been walking to a neighbor's house on the other side of the property from where the owners of the dogs lived. He crossed the property line there. Two of the dogs approached him and started biting him and then the two other dogs joined in, Gardner said.

"She heard him yelling," Gardner said of Holland's wife hearing the attack. "He ran into the house. His legs were badly injured."

During the attack, the victim injured all four of the animals with a pocket knife. "He was able to defend himself as much as possible," Gardner said of the incident. "It was all family. He knew the dogs and the dogs knew him."

Due to injuries, two of the dogs died the next day and a third was taken to a local animal hospital. It later died as well. The fourth dog was still at large last week and deputies continued to actively look for that dog for several days. Traps were put out, but the dog eventually had to be shot.

While Holland was being treated and readied for transport Tuesday, several animal control officers from the BCSO were busy next door to his residence trying to locate the missing dogs. Much of their time was spent looking underneath the trailer on the property next to Holland's home. About 5 p.m. officers brought one of the dogs from the back of the trailer.

Gardner said officers were checking into whether the dogs were properly licensed and vaccinated. He said after a complete investigation and discussions with the commonwealth's attorney, charges could be pending.

Gardner said the code section that deals with vicious dogs is open to interpretation. Once complete, he said officers would see what possible charges could be filed, from owning a vicious dog to failing to have the dogs vaccinated or properly licensed.

There is not a leash law in that area.

Gardner said the health department had been contacted and the deceased animals would be tested.

As of Tuesday morning Gardner said Holland remained in the hospital with serious injuries to his foot and leg.