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Lakota Woman Killed In Rosebud Dog Attack

Courtesy Derek Clairmont

A Lakota woman was killed by a pack of dogs on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation on Saturday.

The attack took place within 100 yards of the woman’s home in the small community of Swift Bear. 

Derek Clairmont is a volunteer firefighter and EMT in White River, on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. He says he wasn’t surprised when he received notice that a woman had been attacked by dogs last Saturday afternoon.

“This is like the fourth time this had happened,” comments Clairmont.

The Swift Bear community is just outside White River so Clairmont arrived quickly with an ambulance and the county sheriff right behind him.

“I had counted four dogs,” Clairmont explains. “I mean…they were pretty decent, good sized dogs. They would pretty much run in a whole half-circle just trying to get back to her while, you know, me…two other guys anjd the sheriff were tryna’ protect her.“ 

The victim, Julia Charging Whirlwind, lay unconscious on the ground. Clairmont says he could see substantial damage to her legs. The county sheriff eventually shot one of the dogs, driving the rest of the pack away. Julia Charging Whirlwind was taken to the Rosebud Hospital, but didn’t survive the attack.

Derek Clairmont has lived on the Rosebud Reservation and says dog attacks are not the norm. But he feels this incident could have been avoided.

“The day before my sister had called the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Police Department because these same dogs had almost got my little nephew,” Clairmont recalls. “ We called them and they haven’t showed up. They never showed up.”

Clairmont says he hates to point a finger at the tribal police, but that’s where he feels the blame lies.

Meanwhile, Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council Representative Wayne Frederick says tribal police did respond to a call four days prior to the fatal attack, but couldn’t find the dogs in question.

“They went door-to-door today and they actually rounded up a bunch of dog and they actually disposed of what they believe were the actual problematic dogs,” Frederick explains.  

For his part, Derek Clairmont says the problem isn’t the dogs, it’s the people who own them and don’t know how to care for or train them.

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