Neighbor rushes to help Jacksonville woman being attacked by dog

The neighbor, Thomas Hughes, was also severely injured

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 57-year-old Jacksonville woman who was mauled by a dog attack last week is fortunate to have survived thanks to a neighbor who heard her desperately pleading for help.

Just before 9:30 a.m. Friday, the woman was talking her dog toward the backyard when she fell to the ground. That’s when another dog that belonged to a relative attacked her.

“I heard, ‘Help me. Help me.’ Screaming,” recalled her neighbor, 48-year-old Thomas Hughes.

Hughes, who lives across the street, immediately ran over to see what was happening.

“I saw the dog -- pit bull -- chewing on the neighbor,” he said.

The woman asked Hughes to put the other dog inside her home.

“As I had the other one follow me to her back door, I turned around and the one that was biting her came running at me at full speed,” Hughes said.

Hughes now had the pit bull’s full attention while his neighbor hobbled back into the house.

“He caught my left finger, and that’s when he chewed on the top and side of the hand, basically had my whole hand in his mouth,” Hughes said.

Hughes said he managed to reposition himself so that he could squeeze the dog’s head. He said this went on for 20 minutes until a police officer was able to put a leash on the dog and tie it to a tree.

Both Hughes and his neighbor were taken to Memorial Hospital with serious injuries. His neighbor’s injuries were so bad that at one point, police feared she might lose one of her legs. Hughes said the last update he got from her family is that she went to therapy Wednesday and will be staying with a friend until she can walk up stairs.

Looking back on what happened, Hughes said he has no ill will against pit bulls and hopes the public doesn’t consider all pit bulls to be attack animals.

“Not all dogs are like that, and not all pit bulls are like that. Plenty are docile. My daughter has one. My friends have them,” he said.

The dog that attacked the woman was seized by animal control and declared a dangerous animal, meaning the dog might be euthanized.

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