Melitta Hain, 84, died eight days after being mauled by dogs in Billings Heights.
Mauling Victim Identified
Billings, MT - On April 18, news reports emerged about a fatal dog mauling in Billings Heights, a suburban neighborhood in northeast Billings. The attack occurred on April 8 in the 1100 block of Sandstone Trial at about 6:30 pm. Police were initially dispatched to the area on a report of a disturbance. While en route, police learned the disturbance was a dog attack. When officers arrived on scene, they found an elderly woman who had sustained injuries from a dog attack.
On April 19, the Yellowstone County Coroner's Office identified the victim as 84-year old Melitta Hain. She was injured on April 8 and died on April 16 from complications of multiple dog bites. Her death was ruled an accident, the coroner's office said. The attack occurred on private property, and three large mixed-breed dogs were involved, police said. All three dogs are being held in quarantine at the Yellowstone County Animal Shelter. No arrests or charges have been filed.
Audio dispatch logs from Yellowstone County Public Safety on Broadcastify.com indicate the victim lived at a home on Sandstone Trial next-door to the property where the dogs resided. No other information has been released by police. Hain's family has retained the Billings-based law firm Heenan and Cook to represent them, reports KTVQ, an MTN News affiliate. The family and their attorney declined an interview request with MTN News until the police investigation is complete.
Last year, two people were killed by dogs in Montana. In December, 58-year old Duke Little Whirlwind was fatally mauled by a pack of dogs in Lame Deer on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, about 115 miles southeast of Billings. In May, 4-year old Elliot Sherwin was killed by his grandparents two rottweilers in Whitehall, about 200 miles west of Billings. The grandparents had gained custody of the boy and had recently moved to the area from Washington state.
Prior to the pandemic, only two fatal dog maulings had been recorded in Montana since 2005. In 2006, Dominic Giordano, 4-years old, was killed by one of his uncle's rottweilers in Ulm. The boy and his family had been staying with his aunt and uncle who owned four rottweilers. In 2017, Melissa Barnes, 65-years old, was brutally attacked by two familiar pit bulls belonging to a tenant that lived on her property in Bozeman. She was pronounced brain dead the following day.
Melitta Martha Hain was born in Berlin, Germany prior to World War II. She was injured in the bombing of Berlin and buried in a hospital for two days in Leipzig, according to her obituary. She would have been a young child at that time. She later escaped from East Berlin. Being sponsored out of a refugee camp, she arrived in Great Falls, Montana and felt "safe and free." After marrying her husband in 1983, the couple lived in Denver, Colorado before settling in Billings, Montana.
12/16/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Dogs Kill Man on Northern Cheyenne Reservation
05/28/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Boy, 4, Killed by His Grandparents Two Rottweilers in Montana
09/13/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Brain Dead After Pit Bull Mauling Near Bozeman
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.
Large mixed-breed dogs. Hmmmm, I wonder what type of dog they may be referring to?
I was thinking the same thing, Quiet. I highly doubt “the mixes” were doodles, beaglepoos, or even huskerds (shep/husky)
“Mixed”–how politically convenient…but big enough, powerful enough and vicious enough to shred an elderly woman to death.
Do we really loathe the elderly in this society so much we will leave them to be eviscerated by dogs that are no tamer than tigers?
Do they mean mixed breed dogs as in pit bull rottweiler doberman pinscher different breed of dogs that killed the poor lady.or do the media means a group of pitbull killed her but they downplay it and labeled it the pitbull as pitbull mixed dog.
Sometimes they mean a brindle pit bull mixed with a blue nose pit bull or a tan and white pit bull or gray and white pit bull .
Colleen, I saw your report on the tragic mauling of a 4-yr-old Montana boy in May 2021. You wrote, “The delay in reporting this Montana attack comes during a period where we have seen a sharp decline in media reports of fatal dog maulings.”
Is the sharp decline due to fewer mauling deaths, or less inclination of the media to check police reports, or police departments’ reluctance to provide dog-mauling reports? It sounds like you may believe it’s the media. That’s what I believe now w the Pet of the Week features on reputable TV news. What’s your best guess now?
I think that the sharp decline is due to pressure from the dog industry. There’s a lot of money involved in the sale and promotion of dogs and, likewise, dog food and other dog supplies.
Follow the money.
1000x THIS, Quiet.
There’s millions, if not close to billions flowing in to pet care and shelters by people who have refuse to understand that a million dead pitbulls a year cannot be stopped until pitbulls are essentially–outlawed. Because clowns will just keep breeding these dogs for profit until it’s illegal to own them.
Really hoping for more information about this – I have an acquaintance who reacted to the news by saying the victim was probably doing something stupid 🙄 As if.
“Lots of evil people out there”- I often read pit owners use as an excuse for a mauling. Blame the previous owner for abusing the dog and not raising it right.
Blame the victim for triggering the aggression. You should never show fear when around a pit. They don’t like it. It’s insulting to them.
Even infants are to blame when they’re chewed like a play toy before they can even sit up in the crib. You see the reason this happens is because the pit, with its heightened awareness and senses, KNOWS that the infant is eventually going to become a bad, evil person. Might take 20+ years to see the apple turn bad. Longer than the pits life. But trust your all-knowledgeable pit owner on this. The evil people are everywhere.
The lack of further media report about this leads me to believe that no one cares about this woman’s life. Where is the outcry? Why are the names of the dog owners not being dragged through the mud? Ruled accidental and no charges filed – why are people quietly getting away with killing their neighbors?
When I was a member of Billings Animal Control Board we amended the ordinance for “Sec. 4-405.5. – Dangerous animal” to read “The court shall order euthanasia of an animal involved in a fatal attack on a person.” I haven’t been able to find any updates on this attack or anything about the dogs being euthanized. I had moved away a number of years prior to this attack and there is a new AC supervisor, the previous AC and DA were good about enforcing the ordinances.
That is good, and understandable. I dearly hope someone will pay for this. I would also like it to be publicized that it was not the victim’s fault. So many dog lovers immediately blame the victim. I would like to see a narrative to counteract that assumption.