A Montana woman is brain dead after she was attacked by two dogs while gardening at a property she owned. Melissa Barnes, 65, is being kept on life support for organ donation while doctors test for rabies, KTVQ reported.
The dogs were owned by Wayne Bartlett, a tenant at the property who told KTVQ that the pitbull and pitbull mix were well-trained and had never shown aggression. The dogs were euthanized over the weekend and are also being tested for rabies because they didn’t have updated vaccinations, KRTV reported.
Bartlett was not at home at the time of the attack, but said that his niece and girlfriend’s two children had gone outside to talk to Barnes just before the attack occurred, KTVQ reported.
“I do know Melissa, I’ve rented from her for six years,” Bartlett told the news outlet. “She’s sweet, she’s very hard working, she works day and night, she’s always really kind to me. My dog Bain has lived here just as long, never really had a problem with him, they never showed aggression towards her or anybody else. I’m not exactly sure what could’ve happened.”
Gallatin County Sheriff Brain Gootkin said the investigation is ongoing, and is not clear if Bartlett will face any charges.