By Cynthia M. Jeffries
VARDAMAN – A Vardaman woman was attacked Sunday by two Rottweiler dogs while she and her sister walked around an exercise track in Calhoun County.
Tina Crum, 27, was in stable condition at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo on Monday with dog bites to the back of her head and both arms. The incident occurred about 8 p.m. Sunday at a park near Vardaman High School near the intersection of Pine Street and state Highway 8.
Crum and her sister, Tanya Langford, were preparing to call it an evening when they spotted the two dogs walking toward them.
The animals, each of which weighed about 90 pounds, had broken free from their chains only minutes earlier from their nearby backyard pen.
“We knew not to run,” Crum said, which would have given the dogs a reason to run after them.
Crum and Langford were attempting to make their way to their cars when Crum fell. That’s when the dogs attacked her.
“(The dogs) chewed up my arm pretty good,” Crum said.
The two sisters were trying to fight off the dogs while also screaming for help.
Wayne Coffee, who lives near the walking track, heard the women and ran outside and attempted to beat off the dogs with a baseball bat. But the dogs would not let go.
“The dogs were trying to drag her,” said Vardaman Police Chief Calvin Barnett, who shot one of the dogs to death shortly after he arrived. The other dog ran home.
“(The dog) did not want to quit,” Barnett said. “I had no choice.”
Barnett followed the other dog to his home and told the dogs’ owner what had happened.
Monday morning, the other dog was killed. Both of the dogs were decapitated and their heads sent to Jackson to have a brain scan conducted for rabies. Test results showed neither of the animals was diseased. The owner had informed Barnett that both of the dogs were up to date with their shots.
Vardaman, a town of about 1,000 residents located east of Calhoun City, does not have a leash law. Barnett said this was the first time to his knowledge that something like this has happened.
Because both dogs were chained and being kept in a backyard pen, Barnett said, “A leash law would not have done a bit of good in this incident.”
The Vardaman incident was the second dog-biting to occur during the weekend in Northeast Mississippi. In Corinth, a woman was bitten on the leg by a pit bulldog while walking along Gaines Road. The woman received a small puncture wound and took herself to the hospital, Corinth Police Chief Fred Johnson said. The animal was not found immediately after the incident. Johnson said authorities continued their search Monday.