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A 'hero' mum has died after having both her arms ripped off when she leapt in to save her son from a horrific mauling by the family dog.
Heather Pingel, 35, lost her life in the tragic pitbull attack at her home in Bowler near Milwaukee in Wisconsin, United States on December 8.
She had intervened to rescue her 4 year old son Damion Bernarde when she found him him being savaged by the pet.
According to local newspaper the Wausau Daily Herald, the attack is believed by family members to have began when Damion fell down the stairs and into in the hallway of the house.
The pitbull, which is known to be often spooked by sudden loud noises, seems to have been triggered by the commotion and launched into a grisly biting attack on the boy before his mum rushed over to his aid.
Damion's father Shane Bernarde then returned home some moments later to find Heather being savaged on the bathroom floor by the dog.
He took the crazed animal outside and shot it in the head before rushing back back to Heather, who was still conscious despite suffering catastrophic injuries.
She told him that Damion had fallen down the steps and she "didn't know" where he was, according to a police report from the Shawano County Sheriff's Office.
Heather was rushed to Aspirus Wausau Hospital, where she later died of kidney failure on December 16.
Her sister Shannon Pingel described the family's painful process of piecing together the incident to the Wasau Daily Herald, saying: “We don't know how long she was in there fighting him off"
"Shane got home to find her lying on the bathroom floor. She said, ‘I have no arms and I'm dying.'"
She added some touching tributes to her late sister, commenting: “She is the bravest, strongest mother I know to do that for her child; she risked her life to save him"
"She is a hero."
Shannon revealed that Damion had received around 70 stitches to his leg after being admitted to hospital along with his mum, but is now recovering at home with family.
Shane also received minor treatment for bite injuries sustained during the final struggle.
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