Dog attack hospitalizes candidate's wife

3:05 PM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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(Cincinnati.com) -- Virginia Conlan Whitman was hoping to put a sign in a Spring Grove Village yard asking for votes for her husband.

But instead of a "Bruce Whitman for Appeals Court Judge" sign, she received a vicious mauling by a dog, leaving her with injuries so severe that she has undergone two surgeries.

"She has three major wounds," Bruce Whitman said Monday. He's hoping to beat Pat DeWine in a race for a judgeship on the Cincinnati-based Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals in the Nov. 6 election.

She was in the 4800 block of Winton Road at about 3 p.m. Sept. 22 when she pulled her car into a driveway of a home that was sporting several other yard signs supporting Democrats running for election. She was hoping she could add a sign for her husband, a Democrat, to the others.

A dog-lover, she noticed three dogs in cages outside the home.

But she didn't see the fourth dog, believed to be a pit bull or pit bull mix, her husband said, and it attacked her from behind. It bit her several times on the back of her legs.

"She's not doing that great," her husband said. "She can't work. She's just now starting to walk. She's traumatized and emotionally distraught."

A home health care worker comes to her home twice a day to repack and bandage her wounds, hoping to stave off infections. She was hospitalized for five days. The dog has been quarantined until it is inoculated for rabies.

"She said it wasn't playing. It was a dog trying to kill or maul her," her husband said.

In May, the city of Cincinnati repealed its law on ownership of breed-specific dogs, like pit bulls, after it was deemed unconstitutional.

"Pit bulls as a breed are not vicious but this dog was vicious," Bruce Whitman said.

The candidate said he decided to talk about the attack on his wife "for the safety of other people" who are out canvassing or doing political work.

Virginia Whitman, 63, of Clifton, is an attorney who is the executive director of the Volunteer Lawyers program at the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati. She's a 1981 graduate of the University of Cincinnati law school.

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