Northwest News

Pit bull attack responder describes rescue as man fought for life, woman yelled at them

Kevin Backlund needed 133 stitches after he was attacked by pit bulls while making a delivery for UPS in Puyallup on Sept. 13.
Kevin Backlund needed 133 stitches after he was attacked by pit bulls while making a delivery for UPS in Puyallup on Sept. 13. Courtesy

When help arrived, the UPS driver was on top of a small trailer fighting for his life against four snarling pit bulls.

The driver, Kevin Backlund of King County, was bleeding, one of the gray dogs was latched onto his leg and the rescuer “feared for his life,” according to recently released documents.

Backlund, a 59-year-old former Nevada State Patrol officer, reportedly was attacked after entering a gate to deliver a package in the Puyallup area. A report filed by Orting Valley Fire Chief Dave Goodwin says Backlund, who has extensive martial arts training, removed his belt and used it to defend himself.

Goodwin was in a department SUV when he responded to the call. At the scene, a woman refused to open the gate or bring the dogs under control, according to Goodwin’s report. The report states that she said, “The driver was trespassing and kicked one of my dogs. They are going to kill him.”

When Goodwin told her to open the gate, she swore at him, accused him of trespassing and threatened to call police. Pierce County Animal Control investigators were unable to locate the woman, department supervisor Brian Boman told The News Tribune on Thursday. KING-TV reported that the woman is not associated with the property.

Goodwin wrote that when a second dog bit into Backlund’s leg, “It appeared to me that the driver was getting pulled off the trailer and I now feared for his life.”

Goodwin drove the SUV through the chain link gate and to the trailer where he instructed Backlund to jump onto the roof of his vehicle. But the report says the distance was too far. Goodwin repositioned the vehicle so Backlund could crawl through the open passenger window while kicking off a pit bull attached to his leg. The dogs had pulled off both Backlund’s shoes.

The report states that the woman yelled, “You are a (expletive) idiot. Now the dogs are going to get out. ... I’m going to get my gun and shoot you.”

Backlund was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital where he underwent surgery. He needed more than 133 stitches for as many as 36 wounds, according to the staff at the Davis Law Group in Seattle. Backlund credited his police officer and martial arts training for enabling him to fight off additional injuries and for saving his life, according to law office staff.

Davis said Backlund is receiving treatment for his wounds every other day and that he is having issues with infection and wound closures. Davis said it is not yet clear when Backlund will be able to return to work.

A small “beware of the dog” sticker reportedly is affixed to the gate, but the warning was covered by foliage.

Charges are pending. The pit bulls are detained at the Tacoma Humane Society, according to the report. A hearing will determine the dogs’ fate and Davis said Backlund will testify and share his account of the incident.

Backlund is not likely to share at the hearing his opinion about the fate of the dogs, but Davis said his client believes “the dogs are too dangerous and should be euthanized.”

Backlund issued a statement through Davis that thanked several people for their support and credited Goodwin for saving his life.

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