70-year-old woman attacked by pit bull pair

December 6, 2009 8:30:02 PM PST
Bone chilling screams were coming from Maria Zaldana as a pair of pit bulls attacked the 70-year-old, repeatedly biting her face, legs and arms, ripping away pieces of skin and large sections of her scalp. Maria was walking along West 34th Street Friday morning, and had almost made it to her job at a florist's, when just after 9, she spotted the dogs.

"She had seen two dogs on the porch, she's afraid of dogs, so she crossed the street, they started following her," explained Jessica Fajardo, Maria's friend.

Within seconds the dogs attacked. Maria desperately held onto a parked truck until someone came and got the pair.

The owner is out of town, and another relative was supposed to be watching the male and female dogs.

Somehow, the animals escaped from a fence that's normally kept locked.

Danielle Manno, Dog Owner's Cousin, said "Even though they are big they're the biggest babies, they hide if you yell and scream at them, they'll run and hide, they're scared of everything."

A friend believes Maria's screams may have further fueled the dogs, with the male thinking he was being attacked.

"They probably went up to her and tried to play with her. They jump on people but don't bite them," explained Desiree Marolda, a friend of the dog owner's.

Donna Marki, a friend and of Maria's for 30 years and one of her co-workers says she believes both dogs should be euthanized.

Marki also started a collection to help pay for her medical bills.

"Now without her here, part of the wheel, a spoke of the wheel is missing and it's hard for all of us," said Donna Marki of "Say it with Flowers".

Zaldana was rushed to the Jersey City Medical Center, and was later transferred to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark. The pit bulls have been placed in quarantine at the Associated Humane Society in Newark. Police say Manno was issued two summonses for having unleashed dogs.