Victim of dog attack believes two animals were involved

Posted Dec. 07, 2010, at 3:48 p.m.

LAGRANGE — The Prentiss Township woman who was severely mauled in a dog attack last month in LaGrange told relatives last weekend there were two dogs involved in the attack.

While Karen Stewart, 41, doesn’t recall much about the incident that changed her life forever, she has acknowledged there were two dogs around her the night of the attack, her stepsister Tammy Carlow of Clinton said Tuesday. Stewart also remembered that the dogs had not been fighting before the attack, she said.

“She has a lot of nightmares about it,” Carlow said.

Meanwhile, Stewart’s medical condition has improved and she may be transferred soon from a Boston hospital to Maine for rehabilitation, her stepsister said.

Stewart had been visiting her friend Vaughn Adams of Forest Street in LaGrange on Nov. 12 when she went for an evening walk and was mauled. She was bitten more than 20 times and the majority of the bites were defensive wounds to her arms, according to Adams.

After the attack, Stewart was airlifted to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and then transferred by air to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where she was placed into a drug-induced coma for several days. Because of the severity of the bites, doctors amputated Stewart’s right arm but managed to save her left arm.

“She’s doing really, really good,” Carlow said Tuesday. “She’s anxious to get home.”

Carlow said the doctors are making arrangements to have Stewart transferred back to Maine, where she will undergo extensive rehabilitation.

The dog that police are certain was involved in the attack was an American bulldog mix. It was euthanized a few days after the attack to be tested for rabies. The animal was found to not be rabid, authorities said. Its owner, Adam Bemis, 28, has been charged with keeping a dangerous dog. The dog had not been chained, and it had not been licensed.

Maine State Police Trooper Barry Meserve, who investigated the attack, said there was another dog at Bemis’ residence the night Stewart was mauled. But it was much smaller than the other dog and could not have inflicted Stewart’s injuries, Meserve said.

“I’m certain the right dog was put to sleep,” he said Tuesday.

Meserve said the attack still is under investigation. He said he plans to interview Stewart again once she returns home and her memory of the attack improves.