Man dies from heart attack while breaking up dog fight

By: Staff report

PEMBROKE — A 72-year-old Pembroke man is believed to have died from a heart attack on Monday while he was attempting to break up a fight between three dogs, and the county Health Department has quarantined the animals as a precautionary measure to make sure they do not have rabies.

According to Health Director Bill Smith, Earl Freeman was found about 4 p.m. dead at his home on Candy Lane Road by his wife. She had left the home about 1:30 p.m.

Smith said the incident initially was investigated by the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, but then turned over to Animal Control. Paramedics determined Freeman had died of a heart attack. There were, according to Smith, some minor injuries to Smith’s ankles, but investigators are not yet sure whether or not they were caused by the dogs.

Smith said the dogs, an Australian sheep hound and two pit bulls, did not have proof of vaccination and therefore were taken to the county’s shelter near St. Pauls, where they will be observed for 10 days to see if they display signs of rabies. He stressed the animals are not considered vicious and would be returned to their owner if they prove to be healthy, but only after they have been vaccinated.

Smith said there would be a $100 fee per dog for them to be returned that pays for lodging and the vaccination.

He said the quarantine is a precautionary step that is taken in case anybody who has had contact were to come forward and say they had been bitten by one of the dogs.

Staff report