Woman injured in weekend dog attack describes what happened

Posted at 6:11 PM, Aug 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 21:48:38-04

One of the victims in a vicious dog attack over the weekend is recounting the terrifying moments.

Suzanne James, 51, says she is recovering from a broken foot and deep puncture wounds all over her body.

"I thought I was going to die," James said. "One was on one end and one was on the other, they were just all having like a frenzy, like a tug of war on me."

Authorities said five dogs were involved in the attack and they also attacked their owner, who was also taken to the hospital.

Authorities were called to the area of 35th Avenue and Beardsley Road around 4:30 p.m. Saturday after receiving reports of a dog attack.

James told ABC15 she went to visit her neighbor, ironically to see if he needed dog food. When a chair she was sitting in gave way, it startled the dogs and they attacked.

"The big male dog was there and so he attacked me," James said. "I guess I screamed and then the rest of them were coming from all angles at me."

"Veteran firefighters tell me that there were chunks of skin, chunks of flesh being chewed out of them," Phoenix Fire captain Rob McDade said on Saturday.

During the incident, neighbors rushed outside to help the victims and at least one neighbor shot at the dogs with a shotgun, officials said.

Neighbor Nicholas Reed was among the people who tried to help the pair.

"I kept asking him, what should I do — should I shoot them?" Reed explained. "He kept saying 'Yes, shoot them, shoot them, shoot them!'"

Reed then shot one of the dogs.

"I wasn't sure if I was going to get in trouble with the police or not," Reed said. "I'm a single father of two so I didn't want to cause any problems for me or my family or my kids."

"So thankful," James said of Reed's actions. "When I get out...I [will] thank him so much."

James told ABC15 she will remain in the hospital for at least the next few days.

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control said the dog that was shot died at the scene. A spokesperson described the dogs as a Shepherd mix.

Two other dogs were surrendered to Animal Care and Control and euthanized. The agency plans to go to court over the remaining two.