Apr. 15—LEWISTON — A 71-year-old Helen Street woman suffered serious injuries Thursday morning when a dog attacked her as she raked leaves in her yard, police said.
The owner of the animal, 35-year-old David Davis, of 12 Myrtle St., has been charged with keeping a dangerous dog, failing to license and vaccinate and allowing a dog to run at large.
Lewiston police Lt. David St. Pierre said that at about 11:15 a.m., dispatchers received a frantic call from a witness who reported that a woman was being savagely attacked at 34 Helen St. Further reports continued to come in as police were en route to the scene.
"The information indicated the woman was on the ground being mauled by the dog and her arm and hand was severely injured," St. Pierre wrote in a press release. "The woman reportedly lost consciousness prior to the officer's arrival as the dog continued its attack."
Police said witnesses to the attack tried to remove the dog from the woman's arm, where it had latched on.
When police arrived, the dog was still attacking the woman.
"The woman was clearly in distress and was yelling, 'he (the dog) is killing me,' St. Pierre wrote in the release. "The officer tased the animal which momentarily stopped the attack on the woman. The dog then attempted to bite the officer and then turned its attention back to the woman; biting her on the face and neck.
"The officer," St. Pierre continued, "fearing that this bite would result in fatal injuries to the woman, shot the dog once with his handgun in the side. Despite being shot, the dog was able to bite the woman one last time before running a short distance where it died."
Paramedics were on scene and rendered medical assistance. The victim was taken to Central Maine Medical Center where she was being treated later Thursday.
At about 2:30 p.m., a relative said the victim was undergoing surgery to repair extensive damage to both her arms, her thighs and her face. She described the attack as a "mauling."
Early indications were that the dog, believed to be a pit bull, had slipped through a damaged portion of a fence to access the victim's yard. The dog owner was said to be "devastated" over the attack on his neighbor.
The dog's body was taken to an animal shelter to be transported to the Maine Crime Lab in Augusta for rabies testing, St. Pierre said.
An evidence technician photographed the scene for the ongoing investigation, which will include whether the dog was licensed and had up-to-date vaccinations, St. Pierre said.
Davis was scheduled to answer the charges against him Aug. 11 in Lewiston District Court. Police said there is a possibility that more charges will be filed.