Sunday, June 23, 2019
SAGINAW MI - DUANE VANLANHAM, WHO RECEIVED THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR HEROISM AFTER HE RESCUED HIS NEIGHBOR FROM 3 PIT BULLS AND WAS THEN VICIOUSLY ATTACKED BY THE MEAT GRINDERS IN 2009, HAS DIED FROM CANCER AT AGE 59
Duane Vanlanham is remembered as the Saginaw man who rescued his neighbor from being mauled by several pit bulls. Vanlanham lost several of his fingers and toes during the rescue after the dogs turned on him.
Vanlanham, 59, died on June 14 after a short battle with cancer, according to his niece Crystal Clark. Clark said Vanlanham found out he had Stage 4 throat cancer in September.
The family has set up a GoFundMe account called “Burial For Saginaw Hometown Hero” to help with funeral expenses.
Clark said that after the attack, her uncle never collected the $2 million judgment entered against the two people who owned the dogs.
On March 5, 2009, Bridgetta Hadley, who was 42 at the time, was being attacked by THREE PIT BULLS in front of her house at 637 S. 23rd, right on the dividing line between the city of Saginaw and Buena Vista Township.
Vanlanham, who was Hadley’s neighbor and childhood friend, intervened, saving Hadley and getting her inside of a vehicle away from the dogs.
“I tried to get on the hood, but they grabbed me by the legs and I slid off,” Vanlanham testified during the 2010 trial for the couple who owned the dogs.
Vanlanham said he stood up and backed away from the dogs but tripped over the curb and fell into the grass, he testified. One dog began biting his left leg, “tearing away my muscles,” while the other two bit his right leg and one of his arms.
He lost all five toes on his right foot and four fingers as a result of the attack.
Anthony D. Hunt was convicted in May 2010 of four counts of owning a dangerous animal causing serious injury. Hunt received a five-to-eight year prison sentence.
Shamorrow Amos was convicted of two dangerous animal charges and received a sentence of probation.
In 2011, the city adopted a “dangerous dogs” ordinance which requires citizens owning pit bulls, Presa Canarios, bull mastiffs, Rottweilers and German shepherds to register their dog for a $20 fee and pick up a “Dog on premises” sign to post in front of their homes.
Vanlanham received national attention when he was selected to receive a Carnegie Medal for heroism he displayed in the 2009 attack.
Clark said that her uncle was very proud to be considered a hero and that he would jokingly mention it whenever he asked someone in the family for something.
Clark remembers when the incident occurred more than 10 years ago.
“It happened in front of my grandmother’s house,” she said. “I was getting ready for work as it was going on.”
Uncle Wayne, as Clark calls him, did not change much after the attack. He still loved to hang out with family and he still loved to play dominoes.
“Even after he found out he had cancer, we have pictures of him playing dominoes at our family Christmas celebration,” Clark said. “Overall, he was the same Uncle Wayne. Fun and energetic.”