Dog From Fatal East Wheeling Attack Will Be Sent to Pennsylvania Rescue

WHEELING – Adoption could be in the future for Sheba, the pit bull terrier that attacked and killed a man in East Wheeling earlier this month, after the dog got a reprieve from City Manager Robert Herron.

Herron announced Wednesday he will authorize the dog’s release to the South Hills Pet Rescue and Rehabilitation Resort, a no-kill facility located in South Park, Pa., about 10 miles south of Pittsburgh, rather than have the animal euthanized.

“This is a licensed rehabilitation and placement organization with a licensed behavioral trainer that will make every effort to retrain and rehabilitate the dog,” Herron said.

The dog has been quarantined at the Ohio County Animal Shelter since March 8, when it attacked Roy Higgenbotham Jr., 62, as Higgenbotham was attempting to aid the dog’s owner, 63-year-old David Wallace Jr., who suffered an apparent fatal heart attack inside his 14th Street home. A preliminary autopsy report revealed a severed radial artery resulting from a dog bite as Higgenbotham’s cause of death.

“Unfortunately, the aid he was giving to Mr. Wallace was believed to be misconstrued by Mr. Wallace’s dog as an attack on Mr. Wallace,” Herron said.

If the South Hills kennel ultimately finds a home for Sheba, however, it won’t be in West Virginia. According to Herron, the facility agreed in writing not to adopt the dog out to anyone in the state.

“It is important to note that this organization assumes all liability and responsibility for the dog, and the dog will not be permitted back in the state of West Virginia for any reason,” he said.

The South Hills kennel will bear all costs associated with the dog’s care, Herron added.

All dogs that come to the South Hills kennel are spayed or neutered, microchipped and fully vaccinated before they are adopted out, according to its website. Adoptions are approved only after a home inspection and education program for a dog’s prospective new owner.

Herron said the Pennsylvania facility approached the city, asking to take custody of the dog. He’s confident the organization will not put any people or other animals at risk, and believes his decision is consistent with the wishes of Wallace’s family.

“A family member came forward and did not want to adopt the dog, but did want it adopted, if possible,” Herron said.


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