HONEA PATH, S.C. (WSPA) — A woman was airlifted to the hospital following a “vicious dog attack” Monday morning in South Carolina.
According to the Abbeville County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded at 10:30 a.m. to a house in the town of Honea Path. Once there, they found Kyleen Waltman seriously injured.
Witnesses told deputies three dogs attacked Waltman.
“She was walking home from her boyfriend’s house to her momma’s, and as far as I know, the dogs just jumped on her and you can actually see in the road if you go down there, where she fought the dog, trying to fight them off,” said Tanya Gilmer, Waltman’s best friend.
Emergency responders also arrived and began giving treatment. Waltman was airlifted to a hospital.
On Tuesday evening, Gilmer said Waltman is in critical condition but is stable in the ICU.
“They pretty much ripped all the meat from her arms, and she has a hole in the back of her head. She has lost her colon. She’s lost both of her arms. She’s going to have to lose her esophagus, and they did save her legs,” Gilmer said.
“I’m still in shock of it. The pictures of her tore my heart to pieces, but regardless, she’s still the same beautiful Kyleen to me,” said Gilmer, who has been friends with Waltman for three decades. “She’ll always be the same beautiful Kyleen to me.”
Deputies said a witness was able to scare the dogs away. Gilmer explained that the man was forced to fire a gun to get the dogs to disperse.
“I’m absolutely grateful for the guy, whoever it was that stopped and helped her,” said Mark Gymer Jr., Waltman’s cousin. “Praise the Lord for him being there.”
Gymer said he’s “angry” about the attack, and worries about the effect it will have on Waltman’s life.
“There’s never any answers to a situation like this. The only thing I can hope is that Kyleen comes out of this and she’s able to live a somewhat normal life as she can,” he said.
Waltman, a mother of three and a grandmother to one, will likely be in the hospital for three to four months, followed by rehabilitation, according to Gilmer.
“She’s alive. She’s a fighter. She’s going to fight through this. I know her. She’s going to fight through it,” said Gilmer, who added that Waltman will need help with her medical bills.
She and Gymer also asked for prayers.
“Just pray for her and my cousins, my aunt. Matter fact, my whole family really,” Gymer said. “If everybody would just pray for her and the rest of the family. I can only imagine the changes in her life that she’s going to have to go through with this whole situation,” he said.
“She’s going to make it. There’s not going to be an if,” Gymer said.
Waltman worked at a restaurant — Lou and Perry’s — in Honea Path. Loved ones said the management put out a jar to help collect money for Waltman’s hospital bills.
Abbeville County Animal Control has taken possession of the dogs. There’s no word yet whether or not the owner will face charges.
This incident remains under investigation by the Abbeville County Sheriff’s Office and Abbeville County Animal Control.