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A woman died after she was attacked by wild dogs early Saturday morning on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, according to the Mellette County Sheriff's Office. 

Julia Charging Whirlwind, 49, of the Lower Swift Bear community, which is just west of White River, was pronounced dead Saturday at the Rosebud Hospital.

The reporting 911 call came in at 6:07 a.m., said Mellette County Sheriff Mike Blom. 

An ambulance was dispatched and arrived at 6:17 a.m. Blom arrived two minutes later. When he arrived, he saw two citizens were trying to fend off two remaining dogs as they tried to approach Charging Whirlwind. She had already suffered life-threatening injuries, Blom said. 

The sheriff said he shot one of the dogs as soon as he arrived, causing the other dog to flee the scene. The victim was then loaded into the ambulance. She was breathing and had a pulse when she was taken into the ambulance. She arrived at the Rosebud Hospital at 6:55 a.m. Blom said he did not know what time she was pronounced dead.

It appeared she had been attacked by numerous dogs earlier that morning, he said. The two dogs he saw were returning to the victim.

The time when the woman was initially attacked is still being determined, Blom said. The follow-up investigation is being handled by the Rosebud Police Department since the attack happened on tribal land.

Blom said he responded to the call because the police department is 30 miles away and he lives less than a mile from where the attack took place.

A dispatcher from the Rosebud Police Department said a statement will be issued after more information is known.  

One of the citizens assisting Charging Whirlwind was bitten when he tried to cover up the victim,, but the injury did not appear to be serious.

This is the second time in less than six months that a person on tribal land was killed by dogs. An 8-year-old girl died after being attacked by dogs on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in November. 

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Contact Scott Feldman at 394-8337 or scott.feldman@rapidcityjournal.com

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