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Mom Praised As A 'Hero' After She Dies While Saving Her 4-Year-Old Son From A Dog Attack

Photo: GoFundMe
woman protects son from dog attack

Heather Pingel, a 35-year-old woman from Wisconsin is being remembered as a “hero” by her family as she died trying to protect her 4-year-old son. 

Heather and her son, Damion Bernande, were at home when their family dog went to attack the boy. The mother was left fighting for her life while also trying to save her son from the attack.

Heather Pingel died while trying to protect her son from an attack by a pitbull. 

Damion was also injured. He received up to 70 stitches on one of his legs. 

At the time, only the two of them were home. Heather’s daughter was at school while the kids’ father, Shane Bernande was at his brother’s home. 

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When Shane came home, he found Heather in the bathroom and went to search for Damion after hearing from Heather that he was injured. 

After he found Damion, he went back to the bathroom to find that the dog was still attacking Heather. He took the dog outside while being bitten and scratched. He took out his gun and shot the dog.

When Shane found Heather on the bathroom floor, she was in immense pain and could barely talk.

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Shannon says, “We don't know how long she was in there fighting him off. Shane got home to find her lying on the bathroom floor. She said, ‘I have no arms and I'm dying.'"  

Damion, Shane and Heather were immediately taken to the hospital. As a result of the attack, Heather suffered numerous health issues and her arms had been amputated. However, she didn’t survive and passed away the next day. 

The dog had not shown signs of violence before. 

It is still unclear as to why the family dog would want to harm the family.

Shannon says, “The dog was always kinda skittish when loud noises happen, so we are guessing Damion fell down the stairs and was crying and might have even kicked up towards the dog, and the dog grabbed his leg and Heather did everything she could to save her son.” 

This seems most likely as the dog is said to have had aggressive behavior in the past.

Shannon shared how her sister had “the biggest heart for animals”. Heather kept the dog because she cared for animals and couldn’t just abandon him. 

After this incident, she has nothing but respect for her sister and her sacrifice. “She is the bravest, strongest mother I know to do that for her child; she risked her life to save him. She is a hero."

Shannon dedicated a post to her on Facebook, "RIP my sweet sister. We will all be here for your babies! Give grandma a hug and wait for me to get there. ... I love you soo much! This isn't gonna be easy." 

She also started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the family in covering the medical costs. As of now, they have raised $23,237 out of their $50,000 goal. 

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Sanika Nalgirkar, M.F.A. is a writer and an Editorial Intern at YourTango who writes on entertainment & news, lifestyle, and pop culture topics.