Pit bull attacks woman walking dog

September 11, 2008 8:18:20 PM PDT
A pit bull seriously injured an elderly woman in New Jersey tonight.The 82-year-old woman from Hasbrouck Heights was attacked by the pit bull while trying to shield her Shih Tzu from the attack, police said.

Authorities said Stella Torti was walking her dog on Harrison Avenue when the assault occurred just after 5:00 p.m.

Torti tried to protect her dog, but the pit bull ended up knocking her to the ground. She continued to try to protect her dog by getting into a fetal position around it.

The dog continued to aggressively attack, ripping parts of her scalp.

An 11-year-old neighbor saw what was happening and ran to try to help. He managed to pull Torti's dog to safety, but he could not save her.

When Officer Paul Bassett arrived at the scene, Torti was on the ground bleeding and still being attacked, DeLorenzo said.

The dog's owner, Joseph Cinelli, tackled the pit bull, police said, and gained control of him.

Torti was taken to Hackensack Medical Center where she was listed in fair condition.

DeLorenzo said police removed the pit bull and a boxer that was also in Cinelli's home, and took them to the Bergen County Animal Shelter.

DeLorenzo said police believe the pit bull escaped through a backyard fence and charged at Torti's dog.

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