A 52-year-old South Carolina woman was mauled to death by her own dogs in her yard in Greenville, police say. Nancy Cherryl Burgess Dismuke was playing with her boxer-mix dogs when they suddenly “aggressive” and violently attacked her, neighbors told WIS-TV.
Nancy Dismuke was rushed to Greenville Hospital after the attack Thursday about 1 p.m. She died at 10 p.m. the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said. Amber Greer, who called 911, told WIS-TV, “They were trying to kill Miss Nancy. They wanted Miss Nancy to die. I don’t know what their beef was with that lady, but they were trying to kill Miss Nancy. One on one arm, one on the other arm.”
Lieutenant Ryan Flood, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, told The Washington Post, “they discovered a neighbor was able to get the lady to safety and away from the dogs and observed an adult female suffering from severe injuries.” Flood told the newspaper Dismuke’s neighbors used an ax and a car part to fend off the dogs during the brutal attack. “When they finally got the dogs off of her, and finally got them to go, she threw her body over the fence,” Flood told The Post.
Dismuke suffered “severe bite wounds” on both arms, and though she was alert and talking with paramedics on the way to the hospital, she went into cardiac arrest when she arrived and later died, senior deputy coroner Kent Dill told The Post. The attack remains under investigation and the cause and manner of her death are still pending, the coroner’s office told the newspaper. According to the coroner’s office, the dog bites caused severe blood loss.
The dogs were seized by Greenville County Animal Control and were set to be euthanized.
The Neighbor Who Fought Off the Dogs With an Axe Said It Was Like They ‘Didn’t Feel It at All’
Denzel Whiteside, a neighbor who helped fight off the dogs, told WIS-TV he started hitting them with the axe. “Grabbed the ax, is the only thing I could find and then I went in. It was almost like the dogs didn’t feel it at all,” he told the news station. William Long, another neighbor, told WIS, “He grabbed the ax, I grabbed the drive-shaft and we just beat the dog off of her.”
Amber Greer told the news station that Nancy Dismuke was a small woman, weighing only about 80 pounds. She said that Dismuke would often play with her dogs and let them gnaw on her arms, but they were never as violent as they were during the attack.
Deputies responded to Yale Street about 1 p.m. on February 21 after a report that Nancy Cherryl Burgess-Dismuke was “wrestling with her dogs in her front yard, before they turned on her and became aggressive,” the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. The deputies responded and found her “suffering from severe injuries,” and applied bandages to her arms to stop the bleeding, according to the press release.
“They were trying to kill her. One dog was on one arm eating it, and one was on the other arm eating it,” Greer told WYFF-TV. Dismuke’s cries for help could be heard throughout the neighborhood. “She was screaming bloody murder. ‘Help! Somebody help me. They’re attacking me.'”
Authorities said there were several small dogs living at the home along with the two larger boxer-mixes. The dogs that attacked Dismuke were set to be euthanized on Friday.
Whitesite told the Greenville News he wishes he could have done more to save Dismuke. “She was already so far gone. One arm was already bit completely off, the other arm was barely hanging on by a piece of meat,” Whiteside told the newspaper. “It was the longest 10 minutes of my life.”
Neighbors Remembered Dismuke as a ‘Little Angel’ & a ‘Sweet Lady’
Neighbor Miranda McKinney called Dismuke a “little angel” who kept to herself, but was friendly with others in the neighborhood, according to the Greenville News. William Long told the newspaper, “She was a very sweet lady. She’d get up every morning and turn the music on and that’s how we’d know she was up. I’m really going to miss her.”
Long told Fox Carolina, “She was a real nice lady. Anytime you asked her for anything any kind of help she gave it to you. She didn’t question it. She didn’t come out and raise a bunch of cane about it. If she can give you some help she will.”
Whiteside added, “I did everything I could. We’re praying for the family. Hopefully they’ll get through this and we’ll be there to support them the entire way.”