N.C. Officers Save Heart Attack Victim's Life

MINT HILL, N.C. --

A man who suffered a heart attack while trying to scare off two pit bull dogs attacking his horse met Friday afternoon with two Mint Hill police officers who may have saved his life.

The officers had responded to a call Tuesday on Dan Hood Road about two dogs on the loose. They saw Bill Williamson lying on the ground, pulled a portable defibrillator from the trunk of one patrol car and revived Williamson.

Police said the pit bulls had also attacked Williamson's horse, Joker, 10 days earlier. The horse was in a fenced pasture both tomes, police said.

The dogs involved in these two attacks are being held at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control.

The horse was not seriously hurt in the second attack but Williamson almost died. He said he had open heart surgery 10 months ago.

Williamson met with Officer Keith Mickovic and Sgt. Dan Forster on Friday at his home.

"Obviously I've never been dead before and had to thank anyone for saving my life," Williamson said. "It was sort of a strange meeting, but I was glad I was able to do it."

It was Joker that sustained the worse injuries in the first encounter with the dogs.

"They had her by the throat, ripped a big hunk out of her nose," Williamson said.

When Williamson saw the dogs in his back yard again this week, he and his two sons went outside with their guns and started shooting to scare them off.

"The excitement is what caused my heart to stop," Williamson said.

The two officers hooked him up to a small red defibrillator and restarted his heart.

"I don't know if it's sunk in," said Forster. "I mean we realize what we did and that it's part of our training."

Williams said it all could have been prevented if the dogs had not been loose.

But the dog's owner, Michael Roberts, said he did everything animal control instructed him to do.

Roberts said the first attack happened after his dogs broke the chains their chains. He said after the first incident, animal control fined him and told him he had to put a metal pen in his back yard.

"They got right out of it -- I mean immediately," Roberts said.

He said as soon as he left the dogs alone in the pen Tuesday, they broke out. He expects to have a hearing in the next 10 days to decide if he gets to keep his dogs.

Roberts also said he is in the process of building a permanent fence around the property.

Williamson said he would like to see the breed eliminated from the area altogether.

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