A 911 call at around 7:30 a.m. alerted emergency officials that the woman had been attacked by dogs, triggering a response by the Hernando County Fire Rescue and animal control officers.
The caller told the dispatcher that he or she had placed the woman into a pickup truck and they were waiting along Spring Lake Highway for first responders, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said. The caller did some first aid after the woman suffered the severe dog bites on both of her legs.
The dogs were said to be pit bulls.
“The caller told operators that the three dogs that attacked the victim … were still running loose in the area,” the office stated.
When first responders arrived, they airlifted the woman to a hospital after treating her on the scene.
Animal control officers fired bean bags at the dogs to subdue them. Ralph Hughes was identified as the owner. He told officers he didn’t want the dogs back, saying they were too aggressive, and they were going to be euthanized.
Hughes was cited for three counts each of public nuisance animal and unrestrained animal.
“Investigation revealed the elderly female was out walking on Spring Lake Highway, something she normally does, when the dogs attacked her. The person who called saw that something was wrong and stopped to provide assistance,” the office said.
The woman was in stable condition at the hospital. She was not identified.
BREAKING: Elderly woman was taken to a nearby hospital in Hernando County after three dogs attacked her during her morning walk, deputies say. The dogs were euthanized. DETAILS: https://t.co/K3jK54YnlB
— FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@FOX13News) May 27, 2019
— Corey Davis (@WFLACorey) May 27, 2019
People commenting on the sheriff’s Facebook post had a range of reactions, many of them blaming the owner of the dogs.
“So disgusted, if he knew they were aggressive, these dogs should of been in 100 percent totally secure fenced in area. I hope this lady recovers quickly and sues the crap out of this guy,” said one user.
“Irresponsible owner, innocent victim, please do not get get animals that you cannot socialize, especially pit bulls and this was his 2nd offense. Follow ups should be perform by the county before it is too late as was this situation and now 4 have to suffer the consequences,” said another.
Others said pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs.
“Am sick and tired of hearing it not the dogs … every time there’s an attack it’s ‘the dogs haven’t been trained’ I don’t know the exact percentage but every attack I hear about is pit bulls, or pit bull mix. They are an aggressive breed and I don’t care how you train them that will never come out of them,” said one.
“Pack attack mentality … very dangerous and no going back and retraining will undo it. Right call, and THANK GOD it was not a child!” said another.
Others defended pit bulls.
“I have an 80lb pitbull who is very antisocial and aggressive as a result. He adores my family and is AMAZING with all six of my children. I go extra measures to ensure HIS safety,” said one user.
“I’d like to say I’m so sorry this happened to the victim. I hope she heals quickly, with no lasting injuries or traumas. I’d like to add that people automatically want the dogs euthanized, however, they do not take into consideration that the owner is the one at fault for this. Obviously, he wasn’t responsible enough to own these poor dogs,” added another. “People need to stop stigmatizing the breed and realize the owner likely neglected and abused these animals.”