Mother, 38, who lost arms in dog attack asks mother to hold hand

Mother, 38, who lost arms in dog attack asks  mother to hold hand

Mother-of-three, 38, who lost both arms in dog attack ‘at times’ doesn’t fully understand ‘that she has lost her limbs’ and asks her mother to hold her hand: Sister says she is ‘alert’ and in ‘good spirits’

  • Kyleen Waltman was mauled by three pit bulls last month while walking to her mother’s home in rural South Carolina, 80 miles northwest of Columbia
  • The 38-year-old, who lost both arms in the attack, does not realize the extent of her injuries, and keeps asking her mother to hold her hand
  • ‘She will ask our mama to hold her hand and mama says “I am,” and Kyleen will say “OK.” It’s sad to see her like this,’ wrote Waltman’s sister, Amy Wynne 
  • Waltman has undergone more than 10 surgeries and could lose her left leg
  • Doctors are placing an expanding balloon under her flank to create more skin for many upcoming grafts – she will spend several months in the hospital
  • ‘Kyleen is very antsy she wants to leave and wants to drink her Dr. Pepper and get out of bed,’ Wynne wrote.
  • The dog owner faces several charges and has been released on a $15,000 bond 

Kyleen Waltman, 38 (pictured), was mauled by three pit bulls last month while walking to her mother’s home in rural Honea Path, about 80 miles northwest of Columbia

A South Carolina mother of three who lost both arms to a pack of pit bulls can’t fully comprehend the catastrophic state of her injuries and keeps asking her mother to hold her hand. 

Kyleen Waltman, 38, was mauled by three pit bulls last month while walking to her mother’s home in rural Honea Path, about 80 miles northwest of Columbia. She has since undergone more than 10 surgeries and has lost both her arms.  

Although her sister Amy Wynne, 41, wrote in a Sunday GoFundMe update that Waltman is ‘awake and alert,’ her family doesn’t think ‘she has gripped the fact that she has lost her arms.’ 

‘She will ask our mama to hold her hand and mama says “I am,” and Kyleen will say “OK.” It’s sad to see her like this.’

Regardless, Wynne wrote, Waltman is in ‘high spirits.’ 

‘Kyleen is very antsy she wants to leave and wants to drink her Dr. Pepper and get out of bed,’ Wynne wrote.

On Tuesday, she will go into surgery for her left leg, which Wynne said was still ‘up for amputation’ if it doesn’t start to heal correctly. 

Waltman is also scheduled to get a second skin graft on her right shoulder. Wynne wrote that doctors intend to put an expanding balloon in Waltman’s right flank ‘where there [aren’t] any bite marks’  to create more tissue for upcoming skin grafts on her left shoulder and leg. 

As of Tuesday, the fundraiser for Waltman has raised $212,983 from more than 4.5 thousand donors. 

Although her sister Amy Wynne, 41, wrote in a Sunday GoFundMe update that Waltman is ‘awake and alert,’ her family doesn’t think ‘she has gripped the fact that she has lost her arms’ 

On Tuesday, Watlman (pictured will go into surgery for her left leg, which Wynne said was still ‘up for amputation’ if it doesn’t start to heal correctly

When Waltman first woke from a medically-induced coma after the attack to be told she’d lost both her arms, she was so distraught she had to be sedated again. Now the mother-of-three faces ‘many more surgeries to come.’ 

In her latest battle, doctors performed a tracheostomy on her, which means a hole was cut in her neck and a tube inserted to help her breath. She also had to have a shunt put in her left lung to help with the fluid.  

Waltman is eligible for a prosthetic for her right shoulder, however, her left side was ‘cut off too much’ for one, her sister said. The injuries to Wynne’s arms means she cannot have regular prosthetics, Amy wrote.

‘So here we are trying to figure out how to keep her from thinking negative thoughts about her life. I understand that for 38 years she’s had arms and now she doesn’t, how she’s thinking. She’s still fighting. Prayers are working and slowly she is healing.’

Waltman is still sedated as her blood pressure and breathing continuously need to be regulated. 

Tanya Gilmer, Waltman’s best friend, told WGN Radio that the attack came as she was walking from her boyfriend’s home to her mother’s property.

‘As far as I know, the dogs just jumped on her and you can actually see in the road if you go down there, where she fought the dog, trying to fight them off,’ Gilmer said.

The dogs were seized by Abbeville County Animal Control, and the Abbeville County Sheriff’s Office before being euthanized and sent away for testing.  

Avery Presley, a local farmer driving his tractor to feed his cows down the road, saw Waltman under attack in a ditch and was able to scare the dogs away by firing his gun into the air, police said. 

Amy Wynne has been providing regular updates on a GoFundMe page that she started to raise medical funds. As of Tuesday, more than $212,000 has been donated

‘I ain’t no hero,’ Presley told the Greenwood Index Journal. ‘I still feel guilty about not getting there earlier. I always carry a gun for safety.’ 

Two days after the attack, dog owner Justin Minor was arrested and charged with three counts of owning a dangerous animal that attacked and injured a human, rabies control violation, and dangerous animal not permitted beyond premises unless restrained, according to The State.  

The owner of a dangerous animal can carry a charge that could result in a penalty of $5,000 or a sentence of three years in prison. 

He was released on a $15,000 bond last month after appearing handcuffed and teary eyed during a bond hearing before Magistrate Susan Gladden. He sniffled, periodically wiping his eyes and shaking his head, as Gladden read his charges to him.

Minor did not have an attorney present at the hearing – he told the judge that he already had a public defender assigned to him, and that he was currently employed.

Gladden told the dog owner that he could apply for a jury trial or a probable cause hearing if he wished. 

He was also told that he could not have any contact with Waltman or her family as his trial proceeds. No one from Waltman’s family attended the bail hearing.

He will return to court May 6. It wasn’t immediately clear why Minor’s dogs were on the street.  

Waltman has undergone several surgeries, according to her GoFundMe page. ‘If it wasn’t for [the passerby], my sister wouldn’t be here,’ Waltman’s other sister, Shenna Green, said. ‘By that time, they couldn’t even tell who she was.’

‘She didn’t deserve it. She was a good person. She helped everybody… She just found out she’s a grandma [and]…can’t even hold the grandbaby and that’s going to be devastating.’

Gilmer told the local radio station that the dogs ‘pretty much ripped all the meat from [Waltman’s] arms,’ and that the woman now has ‘a hole in the back of her head.’ 

Dog owner of the three pit bulls Justin Minor (pictured) was arrested and charged with three counts of owning a dangerous animal that attacked and injured a human, rabies control violation and dangerous animal not permitted beyond premises unless restrained. His pit bulls have been euthanized since the attack and his other breeds have been taken away from him

Minor is pictured at his bail hearing last month before he was released on $15,000 bond

On Minor’s property, a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign can be seen on Minor’s property

‘I’m still in shock of it. The pictures of her tore my heart to pieces, but regardless, she’s still the same beautiful Kyleen to me,’ said Gilmer, who has been friends with Waltman for three decades. 

‘She’ll always be the same beautiful Kyleen to me.’   

Gilmer said that Waltman, who is also a grandmother of one, will be in the hospital for at least three to four months, followed by a long period of rehabilitation. 

‘She’s alive. She’s a fighter. She’s going to fight through this. I know her. She’s going to fight through it.’  

Benjamin Alewine, Minor’s neighbor and cousin, saw Waltman lying in the ditch after she was attacked. He told the Greenwood Index Journal that the ‘hole’ in the back of her head was about the diameter of a coffee cup. 

‘I ain’t never seen no dog do that to anyone,’ he said. ‘This is the most awful sight I ever seen, for a dog attack.’

‘It’s hard to forget it. I asked her what her name was and she couldn’t even move her lips.’

He had known Waltman for 25 years, but was unable to recognize her until deputies came to the scene and pulled her identification from her pocket. 

Alewine said he didn’t know where Minor got the dogs, but said he had a habit of adopting strays. A few days before the attack, he said, he carried a PVC in his hand for protection against the dogs as he walked down the road. 

‘If you ain’t got a stick in your hand, they’ll bite you,’ he said. ‘I’m scared of walking on my property at night.’

He told the outlet that his Chihuahua, which he’d had for three years, disappeared about three weeks ago – he wondered if Minor’s dogs had gotten to it. 

There is a leash law in Honea Path, he said.

Kyleen Waltman, 38, needed to be sedated after learning that she had lost both of her arms

Local news outlets have photographed ‘Beware of dog’ signs around Minor’s property. Animals services said it impounded another eight dogs from the owner’s property on a ten day quarantine because of unknown circumstances surrounding the attack. 

Waltman’s family wants Minor held accountable for the attack that changed changed the victim’s life. 

Adonia Gymer, Waltman’s cousin, told DailyMail.com that she was ‘personally angry’ about the attack. 

‘Justin Minor knew his dogs were vicious and he let them run free,’ she said on Saturday. ‘I’ve known Justin for years. He made those dogs mean on purpose. They’ve bitten people before.’

‘Kyleen is a loving, big-hearted woman,’ Gymer said. ‘She especially loves animals. Nobody deserves this, but Kyleen really didn’t.’


Benjamin Alewine (pictured), Minor’s neighbor and cousin, saw Waltman lying in the ditch after she was attacked. He told the Greenwood Index Journal that the ‘hole’ in the back of her head was about the diameter of a coffee cup. Kyleen worked with her mother at Lou & Perry’s restaurant, according to the Greenwood Index Journal. Her manager, Eric Vaughn Jr. (pictured), said she’d worked there since she was 17 or 18 years old, and that her mother was struggling emotionally after the attack

‘It could’ve been prevented,’ sister Amy Wynne, said. 

‘If the dogs were locked up or if the dogs were chained up, or if they were never there to begin with, this would’ve never happened.’ 

Kyleen worked with her mother at Lou & Perry’s restaurant, according to the Greenwood Index Journal.  Her manager, Eric Vaughn Jr., said she’d worked there since she was 17 or 18. 

‘She’s a tough woman for sure and I’m hoping she’ll be able to fight this,’ he said. ‘I hate it. All we can do is let the doctors do their best and let everything take its path.’

He said Waltman’s mother, who visited the restaurant before traveling to Greenville to see her daughter in the hospital, is ‘taking it hard.’ 

More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, with 800,000 of the victims requiring medical attention, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. 

Across studies, 22.5 percent of reported dog bites – the highest percentage among breeds – were attributed to pit bulls, according to the American Animal Hospital Association. 

DailyMail.com has attempted to contact Wynne for comment.   

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