CREATED Mar 7, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - An 89-year-old woman is in the hospital, two dogs are under quarantine and a neighborhood is on edge Wednesday. The woman went to her mailbox off River and Oracle in the morning when the Pima County Sheriff’s Department says a pair of pit bulls mauled her.
“Was this attack serious? Severe?” KGUN9 News reporter Kevin Keen asked Capt. Adam Goldberg, Northwest Fire/Rescue District. “Absolutely,” he answered. “In speaking with the actual paramedics who treated her at the scene and then road with her to the hospital--she had extensive wounds--he described it as the worst dog attack that he had ever seen.”
Pima County Animal Care Center says they are pit bulls that escaped from their owner's backyard through an unlocked gate.
“The dogs were chained together and as they came upon the victim, they somehow either came around her, causing her to fall because they had essentially entangled her legs and not allowed her to get free,” Goldberg explained.
“The owner explained that that was a means for confining--to keep them in the yard,” added Jose Chavez, animal control enforcement operations manager, explaining why the dogs were chained to each other.
The elderly woman was getting her mail, the sheriff’s department reported, but what started the attack is under investigation.
“She was not walking any kind of a dog or something that would potentially provoke the dogs so that's a good question that a lot of people have on their minds,” Goldberg said.
“I know that this woman has her neighbors to thank for her life in that they were able to somehow stop the attack or at least control the dogs enough for them to stop,” Goldberg added.
Officials say neighbors also helped capture the pit bulls. Now, the county has them.
“The owner gave up those dogs?” Keen asked Chavez. He replied: “Yes, the owner relinquished ownership at the scene.” Keen followed up: “Why?” “He feared that it was safety issue,” Chavez said.
The two dogs will be under quarantine for the next ten days to check for rabies—a standard procedure when a pet bites a person. At the end of that time, at the request of the owner, the dogs will be euthanized.