Coroner: Amputee pulled from wheelchair, killed by dogs

(Photo courtesy: Google Maps)

HARLEYVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Dorchester County coroner's office has released information about a dog attack that left an already paralyzed man dead.

According to Coroner Chris Nisbet, 80-year-old Carlton Freeman was "minding his own business while going down side of road" in his wheelchair when he was attacked by a pack of dogs.

The attack reportedly happened the afternoon of May 8 at Spring Branch and Dunnings Road in Harleyville.

Nisbet says Freeman was a bi-lateral amputee at the knees who was "pulled from his wheelchair by his legs as he tried to fight off the dogs."

Nisbet said Freeman told EMS the dogs were biting him and tearing at his clothing.

EMS transported Freeman to Trident where he passed away on May 12.

"Upon my examination of Mr. Freeman, it is a wonder that this gentleman was able to hang on as long as he did," said Nisbet in a press release. "He had bites and lacerations from his legs to the top of his head. This is very sad story, but even worse that Mr. Freeman was basically helpless to the attack, due to being a bi-lateral amputee."

The Criminal Investigations Unit of the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office is investigating.

DCSO spokesperson Maj. John Garrison said deputies along with Dorchester County Animal Control were able to capture three of the dogs and are still trying to find the fourth.

According to a report from the DCSO, neighbors say the dogs have been "roaming around the neighborhood for months" and told deputies who they thought the owner was.

The report said deputies contacted 61-year-old Barbara Goodwin who said she owns three of the dogs - a mother and two puppies. She said she does not own the fourth dog, a male.

Deputies captured the mother and one of the puppies, all of which had blood in their fur according to the report.

The male and the other puppy would not come out of the woods so deputies say they are setting traps for them.

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