Rainsville dog attack victim speaks out
May 3, 2017
Southern Torch (3919 articles)

Rainsville dog attack victim speaks out

PHOTO: Gary Haymon, retired Pastor of the Rainsville Church of God, was viciously attacked by a dog last week. (Gary Haymon)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor


RAINSVILLE, Ala. A near-fatal attack last week by a dog has the Rainsville community a-buzz. Gary Haymon, retired pastor of Rainsville Church of God, was viciously attacked by a pit bull while not on the owner’s property.

Haymon issued a statement to the Southern Torch, recounting the attack. According to Haymon, the attack occurred after he had brought soup to the family of David Wigley, who had recently succumbed to cancer.

The attack came after Haymon had just had surgery two weeks prior to remove a spur from his spine, meaning that he already had an open wound on his neck. He had also stepped on a rusty nail a couple of days earlier and developed cellulitis, which necessitated a Tetanus shot.

“I stepped out on the porch and looked over the yard to see if there were dogs anywhere to be seen. A car was parked between me and my truck and I thought it was safe to proceed to the truck,” Haymon said.  

Haymon stated that then the, “American Pit bulldog as it had been called from the past visits sailing through the air, hitting me in the upper body. I went to the ground as it growled and bit madly at my head. I tried to protect my throat and arms, but I felt him tear my jaw loose, ripping my bottom lip as I tried to protect my surgery wound. Next it’s mouth went for my skull, and I felt my scalp rip loose. At that point, I thought I am about to die and I could do nothing. I began to scream, ‘somebody help me, somebody help me.’”

Josh Wigley, who was near by, apparently heard Haymon and tried to pull the dog from it’s attack to no avail. Wigley then retrieved a golf club and, “beat the dog until the it finally let me go.”

Haymon then used each of his hands to apply pressure to his scalp and jaw to try and stop the bleeding. After struggling into his Aunt’s house, emergency dispatch and Haymon’s wife was notified of the attack.

After the ambulance arrived and tended to Haymon, first responders told him, according to Haymon, “that I needed to get to a larger hospital that could deal with my wounds and could do plastic surgery. I asked them to take me to Huntsville Hospital.”

Haymon said that he, “thought I would bleed to death before we got there. A main artery had been severed. I wet towel after towel on the way with blood.”

When Haymon arrived at the emergency room, they began to sew him up immediately. The attack landed him in the hospital for three days, and was given antibiotics and medication and observing me before being discharged.

“I am blessed by the Lord to be alive and thank God everyday for sparing me. I believe He had Josh Wigley there to save my life or I would not be telling my story. I know I look terrible, but I want everyone to realize that a dog, that is considered a family pet, is capable of taking a life in a few seconds time,” the statement concluded.

In 2013, the Rainsville City Council enacted Ordinance No. 5-23-13-A, entitled the ‘Responsible Pet Ownership Ordinance,’ and amended the ordinance in 2014. The ordinance regulates animal related businesses, and sets some standards for responsible pet ownership.

Specifically, the ordinance states that, “every dangerous, aggressive, or vicious animal shall be confined by it’s owner within a building or secure enclosure and shall be securely muzzled or caged whenever off the premises of the owner.” Haymon reported in his statement that the owner at sometime had the dog chained to a tree, which isn’t properly secured, according to the ordinance.

It seems as though this portion of the ordinance was violated, and according to the Rainsville Police Department the owner has been issued a citation. The police department also stated that this isn’t the dog’s first attack; the same animal had already been reported for attacking another animal.

While the owner was issued a citation, the dog is being quarantined for a period of 10 days in accordance with state law at the Fort Payne Veterinary Center. After this period is up, the dog will be released back to the owner, calling into question if the dog should be brought back into the community after it’s second attack, this time involving a human. 

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


  1. Roger
    Roger May 03, 21:01
    I not a fan of law suits but the man needs payment for his injuries. Also I hope superintendent Barrnet will address dogs being brought to school sporting events. Saw a young PitBull tonight at a game. Children running and playing could confuse some dogs and cause them to act in unusual ways.
  2. Tom
    Tom May 03, 22:22
    Completely outrageous that anyone would even consider returning this dog to it's owners. They are clearly incapable of controlling it and it has proven a danger to others. This animal must be put down and the owners need to be held criminally and financially responsible for the injuries suffered.
  3. Lynn Littlelogan
    Lynn Littlelogan May 03, 23:14
    This dog should be put down. If it attacked once it is capable of doing it again. People have to realize that this violence is typical of this breed of dog. Dog owners under estimate what they're dogs are capable of. People shouldn't have to worry about their neighbors dog attacking them every the walk out of their house. If this had been a child, it would probably would not have survived. If I had a dog that attacked someone like that nobody would have to tell me that it needed to be put down. I would shoot it myself.
  4. Ben Brandon
    Ben Brandon May 04, 06:32
    Dog is quarantined? Yeah, he should be quarantined to a hole in the ground. The owners of the dog are responsible for the dog. If this happened to me I'd be seeing them in court.
  5. James King
    James King May 04, 07:29
    I hope somebody puts a clip of 9mm rounds in this animal. There's no excuse for having an animal that is referred to as a pet that is capable of doing this. I also hope the owner is responsible for ALL medical bills and has to dig the hole to bury the dog. There should be a permit issued for ownership of this type of animal and an insurance policy required to own one, to cover expenses when this happens and it will happen seeing how this is what they're bred to do.
  6. Peggy
    Peggy May 04, 12:16
    This is so sad, I can't understand how this dog can be released back to the owner as he is subject to do it again. We dog sit my daughters two pits for years and they were sweet and loving to us but as they were protected of us We were watchful of them around strangers. They were so smart and mind better than children but they were house dogs. I believe if a dog is being tied to a tree makes the dog more vicious. I think dog owner should love their dogs and spend quality time with them. All pit bulls are not bad but you can never fully trust any dog. I pray for this retired pastor that's he's well soon.
    • Vanessa
      Vanessa May 08, 00:51
      Agree, I believe pits can be very sweet dogs unless trained otherwise. I also thing it is cruel to tie an animal to a tree. All dogs need attention and plenty of exercise to release tension. Can you imagine hiw you would feel if you were left chained to a tree? This dig should be given to an atttentive owner or put down as a last resort. So sorry for the pastor and pray he heals soon.
  7. CHeryl Glover
    CHeryl Glover May 04, 13:59
    This situation is beyond comprehension. THere is NO EXCUSE for an animal with a nature to attack a human as obviously ferociously as this to be free to roam at will. WHY is this allowed to continue?
  8. cheryl
    cheryl May 04, 16:33
    Sorry but it should be put down
  9. gts@vtc.net
    gts@vtc.net May 04, 17:09
    Sorry, but the dog should be put down. Next time it could kill someone. He can go to doggie heaven but he can't stay on earth...
  10. Jason liles
    Jason liles May 04, 18:18
    A terrible tragedy and horrendous injjuries. That being said, it adds more fuel to the fire about pitbulls. Vicious breed? In the 80'S it was Doberman's. In the 90'S it was Rottweilers. The last couple of decades it has been pitbulls. It's not the breed, it's the ability of an animal of thst size and weight to cause injury or death. Would you guys rather he have been attacked by a German Shepherd? I can tell u from personal experience, that a Dalmatian can cause the same type of harm and irreparable damage. At the age if six I was dragged around our front yard by the neighbors Dalmatian. It bit my face and it's canines hooked into both sides of my cheeks and it shook me and savaged my face for over a minute. Required many stitches and staples. Heard no call for the elimination of Dalmatians nor needing a permit to own one. That's ludicrous! As for a dog attacking another dog, well that's dog behavior. Especially in maless that are not neutered. Dogs have a territorial behavior and a tendency to try and assert dominance over other males. Natural selection behavior. Tying a dog fight into an attack on a human is idiocy and ridiculous. I'm sorry this man was attacked. I do believe this animal should be put down, only because it attacked a human. As far as many other comments, I completely disagree.
  11. Cap
    Cap May 04, 20:51
    People that chain dogs to trees.......don't need dogs! This practice should be made illegal!
  12. Emily
    Emily May 04, 22:11
    Im sorry that this happened to this man it must have been horrible but i have 3 pitbulls and they would never do this to anybody i dont wanna hear its the breed because it isnt, its the owner i agree this particular dog should not be given back to its owner or put back in the public but it is not the breed, any dog could do this its just people get pitbulls and train them to be aggressive because they want a tough dog but it is NOT what they are bred to do pitbulls are bred to be loving companions just like any other dog they were once known as the nanny dog its all these stupid owners that make them this way but it is NOT the breed for someone to say it is because its a pitbull they are stupid
  13. Tangela Coronado
    Tangela Coronado May 04, 22:48
    I hope this dog!!! Is put down!!!! What had it happen had it been a child!??? Who would want a dog like this???? Not a normal person!!!!! Very aggravated!!! This was the 2nd person this dog had done harm to!!! Seriously!!! I hope it's on his way to a sleep where it never wakes again.... ??????????
  14. Kim dobbs
    Kim dobbs May 04, 23:06
    This animal needs to be put down. If it has already attacked one person it will do it again. And if this had of been a small child that dog would have killed it. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior and the owner should have to take responsibility for all medical bills and pain and suffering from this accident!
  15. Faye Graves Morris
    Faye Graves Morris May 06, 17:12
    someone will die if that dog is not put down.....and the owner should go to jail.
  16. Debbie Wright
    Debbie Wright May 06, 22:08
    The Dekalb County School Board doesnt even have the authority to force parents to provide their children an education. Two children 8 and 9 years old cannot read, write, or do simple math bc their mother is "homeschooling" them. She didnt even graduate from school. These kids are Not receiving an education. The DCSB has No Authority to intervien. Maybe they can keep dogs from comming to games on school property. Thats pretty sad when dog issus are more important than a childs right to an education.
  17. Frank Tillman
    Frank Tillman May 08, 06:30
    This dog should be DEAD If I was involved (neighbor) it would be
  18. Jamey
    Jamey May 17, 02:02
    All this seems crazy to me..Dogs are like humans u raise them in good home more than likely good kids..if u raise them in bad homes more than likely bad kids , of course always miscomseptions. Animals learn from us so maybe someone needs to check out the owner.
  19. Rainy
    Rainy May 24, 07:48
    This is why I am very cautious when my children & I are around dogs...ANY DOG...even my own dog which is a very lovable, smart, & caring blue heeler! No matter the breed, no matter the circumstances, no matter how it was raised, an animal is an animal & they can be capable of doing anything to anyone! Sure, there are circumstances that come into play a lot of the times especially during these types of incidences but ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN AT ANYTIME & quicker than you can turn around! I hate that this happened to that man...just horrendous & tragic! If my dog even came close to biting ANYONE then I would most definitely put it down myself!
  20. Gabby
    Gabby July 27, 00:41
    pit bulls tend to go for the face
  21. Lisa Nelson
    Lisa Nelson July 27, 15:02
    That dog should never get out, give him a nice shot to never wake again and if he gets out I would hold the county accountable for the next attack, death he does, or someone give him a tasty treat to kill him
  22. Stephanie Montgomery
    Stephanie Montgomery February 05, 12:14
    I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.
  23. Concerned
    Concerned March 21, 06:27
    Yes the city has to release there custody of the dog after its quarantine i agree the police would send you to prison for an act like this cuz. They are there to serve and protect if this dog attacks another person i say the mayor city counsil and cheif of police should not only resign but also be arrested for. Felony.assault charges or attempted murder do your job you were sworn to do and destroy this animal

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