• UPS driver attacked by pit bulls testifies at animal control hearing

    By: Kevin McCarty

    Updated:

    ORTING, Wash. - A UPS driver attacked and mauled by four pit bulls testified about the fight for his life after the dogs' owner filed an appeal to get them back. Kevin Backlund fought tears as he described the attack at an animal control hearing on Thursday.

    He broke down as he described the moment his wife arrived at the hospital, as he was on way to surgery. He was mauled so badly, he nearly died.

    “My wife coming in, falling to her knees, crying,” Backlund said as he wept.
       
    Backlund, 52, is a UPS driver. He was making a delivery near Orting on Sept. 13 when he walked into a gated yard, thinking it was safe. Suddenly, he found himself surrounded.

    “(I) observed a pack of pit bulls that had taken positions around me, that approached me, obviously, in silence, and the fight was on,” Backlund said.

    All four dogs lunged at him biting at his legs and ripping away skin and muscle as he crawled onto a flatbed trailer and tried to fight back.

    “For the first time in my life, I had an impending feeling of doom,” Backlund said. “A feeling I had never faced. And I was accepting that I was losing the fight. I couldn’t win and that help wasn’t coming.”

    Help did come.

    Orting Valley Fire and Rescue lieutenant Steve Goodwin arrived at the scene. At the hearing, Goodwin described how he had to ram a locked gate to get to Backlund after a woman, claiming to be a relative of the dog's owner, refused to stop the dogs or let a rescue team onto the property.

    “She told me that he kicked one of her dogs and they were going to, pardon my language, f***ing kill him,” Goodwin said.

    Goodwin pulled Backlund into his truck through a passenger window and drove him to safety.

    Pierce County Animal Control officers seized the dogs after the attack and declared them dangerous. All four are being held while that declaration is appealed.
        
    Backlund won't comment on that decision, even though the dogs mauled him so badly he can't even sit in a chair.

    The former Nevada state trooper, who was formerly active and athletic,  said he doesn't know if he'll ever be able to fully recover.

    “Currently, I am working very hard at it and I’m hoping for a good outcome,” Backlund said in an interview following the hearing.

    The dogs' owner did not attend the hearing. A decision on the appeal is expected within 10 days.


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