Man honored for rescuing BGE meter reader from dogs

August 25, 1994|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,Sun Staff Writer

Tim Mauck had just finished reading Don Wiseman's meter in the 1100 block of Greenwood Road in Pikesville two weeks ago and was heading for the next house when the two bull mastiffs attacked him.

"I was backing up, trying not to [let] them get closer," the five-year Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. employee said.

But when he slipped and fell on wet grass, the two dogs -- weighing 150 pounds each -- went for him.

"They tackled me to the ground, they were kind of taking turns [biting me]. I was kicking them, trying to get them away."

He doesn't know how many times they bit him, but their bites broke skin on both calves, his left thigh, his groin and his right ribs, said Mr. Mauck, 23. "They just kept biting and biting and biting."

Mr. Wiseman, who got the dogs away from Mr. Mauck, was honored in a ceremony yesterday at Martin's West in Woodlawn for doing what may have saved the BGE meter reader's life in the attack Aug. 12.

The 41-year-old senior correctional counselor with the Office of Corrections in Washington was eating breakfast when he heard someone yelling for help. He grabbed a portable phone and, while calling police, ran outside to the street, he said.

"I saw them bite him and like, shake him." He said it did not occur to him not to help.

"I started screaming at them and throwing sticks or whatever I saw at them." The dogs came toward him, then ran off, he said.

Mr. Wiseman managed to drag Mr. Mauck inside. "I began treating him for shock. He was vomiting and his skin was clammy." He also gave Mr. Mauck, who was wearing a BGE uniform of a short-sleeved shirt and shorts, a wet towel to wipe the blood from his legs.

BGE gave Mr. Wiseman a plaque and a $500 gift certificate for BGE appliances, and about 100 meter readers gave him a standing ovation at a brief morning ceremony that was part of a daylong seminar including a session on dealing with dogs.

"I believe what you did was truly heroic," Thomas F. Brady, BGE vice president of customer service and distribution, told Mr. Wiseman. "Quite honestly, I'm not sure everyone has the heroics and good nature to do it."

Still limping from his many dog bites, Mr. Mauck came up to the front of the gathering and spoke to Mr. Wiseman in an emotional voice, "I have a thank-you card for you . . . but it's not even close to the thanks I have to give you. I'd like to shake your hand again and say thank you very much."

Inside the card he had written: "I firmly believe that you did save my life."

After the attack, an ambulance took Mr. Mauck to Northwest Hospital Center in Randallstown, where he was treated and released the same day. The dogs were returned to their owner.

Mr. Mauck stayed home that weekend watching television, he said. He has since been doing office work but says he will "most definitely" resume reading meters, as soon as next Monday. From now on, though, he said, he will carry pepper spray.

But what if it happens again?

"If it does, it does; if it doesn't, it doesn't," he said with a smile. "It's a hazardous job."

DEALING WITH DOGS

State police Sgt. Millard McKay, a K-9 unit staff adviser who has been bitten many times, gave meter readers at the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. seminar information on protecting themselves from dog bites like those Tim Mauck suffered.

Preparation:

* Carry pepper spray.

* Find out who on the route owns an aggressive dog.

* Make a noise before entering a yard to see if a dog comes out barking, salivating or with the hairs on its neck raised.

After seeing a dog:

* Don't show fear -- stand firm and slowly back out of the yard while keeping eye contact.

* Talk to the dog in a firm voice.

* Don't run -- climb a tree, if possible.

Once a dog attacks:

* Spray a stream of pepper spray from about 10 feet away into the dog's face and chest.

* Hit the dog on the nose with a stick.

* Grab the dog under the throat to temporarily cut off air passage.

* Try to avoid being knocked to the ground.

* Offer a forearm for the dog to bite instead of getting attacked all over.

* Don't pull a limb back from a dog's jaws because that can cause more severe wounds.

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