SPRING HILL — A woman in her mid-60s was critically injured Friday when she was attacked in her own front yard by a group of dogs who escaped from a neighbor’s home, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.
Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis called the attack “pretty vicious.”
“It was one of the more difficult scenes to deal with,” he said at a news conference.
The woman was flown to a local trauma center. Her injures do not appear to be life-threatening, Nienhuis said, but they will have “a significant impact to her quality of life.”
A spokeswoman said on Saturday that the Sheriff’s Office would not have an update on her condition until Monday.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident. Depending on what investigators find, Nienhuis said the dogs’ owner or owners could face citations or even criminal charges.
“We’re going to hold the owner or owners of these dogs accountable for allowing them to get out,” the sheriff said.
The attack took place just before noon. The woman, whose name was not released by the Sheriff’s Office, was in her backyard with her own small dog when four or five larger dogs escaped from the home at 11079 Mayflower Road. They forced their way through a sliding-glass door that hadn’t been properly closed.
The woman bent down to grab her small dog, the Sheriff’s Office, and the larger dogs attacked her.
Several bystanders tried to pull the dogs off the woman. When deputies arrived they tried to use pieces of a gutter, sticks and even a lawn chair to try to fight off the dogs.
The attack last for five to seven minutes, the sheriff said, until Hernando County Fire Rescue firefighters arrived and used their equipment to scatter the dogs. The person responsible for the dogs got them back inside their home.
Two of the bystanders who tried to help the woman were treated for bites, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The rest refused medical treatment.
Animal enforcement officers removed seven dogs from the house. Nienhuis said animal enforcement had been to the house about a year ago to investigate a report of loose dogs. But they were not reported to be aggressive.