An 85-year-old Indiana pastor has reportedly died after saving his wife and granddaughter from two stray pit bulls that viciously mauled him.
Holly Watkins, the granddaughter of the late Pastor William Mundine of Faith Tabernacle Apostolic Church in Indianapolis, said her grandfather endured 25 minutes of a vicious attack by a group of pit bulls that came into the family’s backyard last Tuesday morning.
“It was just horrifying, scary,” Watkins told PEOPLE. “I’ve never seen him like that. I will never forget those cries.”
Watkins recalled that the attack happened when the two dogs approached her, Betty Mundine, her grandmother, and Willie, her grandfather in their backyard.
At first, they approached Betty, the pastor’s wife, but Mundine quickly intervened attempting to shoo them away. Watkins and Betty ran into the house for safety.
Watkins told the Christian Post that she expected her grandfather to return to the house quickly, but then she heard his screams.
“We looked out the window and he was getting attacked,” Watkins said.
“I tried to go out there with a bat and say, ‘git!’ They looked at me, them dogs, and they just kept attacking him. My grandma tried to [help]. She called the ambulance. 911. It took quite a while for them to come,” she continued.
Watkins told the outlet she believes that it took police nearly 25 minutes to get to their house.
She tried her best to get the dogs away from her beloved grandfather while neighbors also called 911.
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“I stood at the edge of the yard. I actually jumped in my car and kind of revved it up. You know, my engine revved up thinking that was going to scare them away. Drove it halfway into the grass as far as it could go. That didn’t scare them, and I just jumped out after I did that,” she recalled.
The family told Fox 59 that aggressive stray dogs had been roaming the neighborhood for weeks.
Mark Lowe, who lives one street over from Mundine, said he was bitten a week earlier.
“They came and attacked us from the back,” Lowe told the outlet. “We didn’t see them coming.”
An Indianapolis Animal Care Services (IACS) Animal Control Officer (ACO) was the first to arrive at Mundine’s home but was only prepared to use tranquilizers to subdue the animals.
Minutes later, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department arrived on the scene and one officer was forced to shoot one of the dogs.
Both of the animals then escaped, but the dog that was shot was captured a few hours later, Fox 59 reports.
However, it was too late for Mundine.
Watkins says the dogs left several bites on her grandfather’s arms and legs.
He was dead within hours.
“It was just so many bites. The hospital said he had some broken bones. He lost so much blood,” she explained. “(They said) if he was to survive, his arms and legs would have to be cut off because he didn’t have a blood flow going through his veins.”
One of the pit bulls is still on the loose and Animal Control Officers are actively working to locate the dog.
According to Indianapolis Animal Care Services, there has been a recent rise in animal attacks in the area.
IACS officials reported 1,135 total animal bite incidents last year.
The number has steadily risen by at least 100 every year since 2020.
There have been 58 bites this year already.
Meanwhile, Betty says her husband died a hero.
“I say he saved my life,” Betty told WTHR-TV. “He was a hero… He fought as best you can.”
Family members have started a GoFundMe page to raise funds to help with funeral expenses and the cost of providing a safety fence around the Mundine’s home to stop future attacks.
A funeral service will be held on February 17 for the late pastor.