Dog attack victim was “ripped apart”

By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 15, 2010, at 4:24 p.m.

This story was amended Nov. 16 to correct the breed of dog involved in the attack. The dog is a mixed breed with some American bulldog in the mix, according to a spokeswoman with the Bangor Humane Society.

LAGRANGE, Maine — A woman who was “ripped apart” by a mixed breed dog Friday in LaGrange was airlifted over the weekend from Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Karen Stewart, 41, of the Mattawamkeag area has been placed in a drug-induced coma for her pain, according to her friend Vaughn Adams of LaGrange.

“It’s still touch and go,” Adams said late Monday afternoon of Stewart’s condition.

Hospital officials would not release any information about Stewart on Monday.

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Adams said Stewart, who is disabled, had been staying a few days at his Forest Street home when she decided to go for a walk alone Friday night and was attacked by a neighbor’s dog. Somehow she managed to drag herself back to his home, he said.

“She was head to toe in blood and mud,” Adams recalled Monday. The dog “took her elbow out, chewed her whole forearm so there was just skin and bone left, her right arm had about a 3-inch-deep by a 4-inch-wide bite taken out, and she had some bites on her head, neck and face.” He said the dog ripped off most of her blouse and tore her pants.

Adams said Stewart, who weighs about 235 pounds and is about 5 feet 6 inches tall, was “ripped apart” and had more than 20 bites on her body.

“When I went to wrap something around her arm, I noticed her elbow was missing,” Adams said. He said he hollered to some other guests in his home to call 911 while he grabbed jackets, a curtain and whatever else he could find to wrap around Stewart’s arms to stop the bleeding. The worst bites were on her arms, so it appeared she was trying to protect herself from the animal, he said.

After the attack, Stewart was taken by ambulance to Penquis Valley High School in Milo, where she was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to EMMC.

The Maine State Police, who earlier reported that the dog was an American bulldog, have charged the animal’s owner, Adam Bemis, 28, with keeping a dangerous dog. Additional charges are possible as the investigation continues, state police Lt. Wesley Hussey said Monday. He said the case will be presented to Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy for his review.

Hussey said the dog was taken to the Bangor Humane Society, where it has been placed under quarantine for at least 10 days. He said his department has been in contact with the state Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Program regarding the dog’s future.

Adams said he has known Bemis for 17 years. Bemis has had the large, solidly built dog for several months and has always let it roam unrestricted, he stated.

Adams noted that Stewart was aware his neighbor had dogs but was unaware they were not restrained.

Bemis, who has an unlisted telephone number, could not be reached by telephone Monday for comment.

LaGrange Town Clerk Ella Lyford said Bemis had not licensed the dog with her office.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/11/15/news/dog-attack-victim-was-ripped-apart/ printed on July 30, 2014