Just after 5 a.m. on Thursday morning, Ben Mauser of Florence, Kentucky, woke up to take the Pit Bull he was pet sitting for a morning walk, but the dog suddenly attacked him when he reached for the leash, WCPO reports.
That began a fight for their lives for both Mauser and his girlfriend as the dog continued its assault. Mauser was bitten repeatedly on his hands, arms and ankle as he struggled to get into the kitchen of their apartment in the 900 block of Trellises Drive, Cincinnati.com reports.
"He's got some pretty serious injuries to his arm," said Florence Police Capt. Tom Grau, who reported that the couple was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Florence shortly after 5:40 a.m.
Kayla Lewis, Mauser’s girlfriend, says she was awakened by the sudden noises of the attack by the 90-pound dog and she tried desperately to help Ben, who was bleeding profusely, but the dog then came after her.
In a frantic 15-minute phone call to 911 dispatch broadcast by WCOP, she told the operator, “Ben was screaming please stop, please stop ... I tried to get the dog off of him, (the dog) was clenched onto Ben's arm, and that’s when he attacked me."
She later told reporters that she managed to help Ben get from the kitchen into a bathroom for safety but then as the dog clamped its teeth into her arm she cried, “Please Ben, don't let this happen to me' ... so he came out of the bathroom and somehow ripped the dog's jaws off my arm."
Responding officers said they could hear the couple yelling for assistance from outside and they found that Kayla and Ben had managed to barricade themselves in different parts of the apartment for protection from the enraged dog.
“The male advised the officers that he was in the kitchen and that the female was locked in a bedroom,” according to a press release from the Florence Police Department.
The release said the Pit Bull was partially contained in a hallway by a baby gate;” and that officers used food to lure the dog into a bathroom, so they could secure him.
Both victims were treated at St. Elizabeth Hospital, but Mauser was later moved to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he may have to undergo surgery.
WCOP reports that the Pit Bull belongs to Mauser's father. Kayla Lewis said the dog has never been aggressive toward them in the past. Lewis said she had always supported the breed but that she will never get a dog again and that, “they are going to be putting the dog down."
Boone County Animal Control reportedly took custody of the animal. Cincinnati.com says they are trying to contact the owner, who lives in Newport but is out of town on vacation, according to police.
Florence does not have a ban on pit bulls, but the city does have a vicious dog ordinance that requires owners to contain or leash them at all times and keep $25,000 insurance policies, Captain Grau said.
The Florence Police Department and Boone County Animal Control are reportedly continuing to investigate the tragic incident.
RECENT PIT BULL ATTACKS IN THE TRI-STATE AREA
Florence, Kentucky, is about a 15-minute drive to Cincinnati, Ohio, which is in Hamilton County. Both are part of the Tri-State area.
According to a WCOP interactive analysis, the number of Pit Bull attacks reported so far this year in Hamilton County could exceed the total in 2013.
Already 38 bites involving Pit Bulls or their mixes were reported as of May 11, 2014. The total for the entire year of 2013 was 74.
In June six-year-old Zainabou Drame, was viciously attacked by two Pit Bulls in Westwood. The dog owner was subsequently arrested on charges related to the attack.
"They knocked her down then the dogs started chewing on her face and blood started coming everywhere. They ripped her jaw off," said nine-year-old Moustapha Drame, the victim's brother who witnessed the attack.
Zainabou Drame's family told FOX19 that the girl suffered such severe injuries to her mouth and face that she may never be able to talk normally again