Mary Jo Hunt, 53, was killed in the backyard of her Robeson County home, just south of Fayettteville, on Tuesday, by 7 Pit Bulls who turned on the woman who rescued them from shelters and the streets, according to Robeson County Sheriff's deputies. Mary Jo is reported to work with Claws & Paws Animal Rescue, reports Dogsbite.org.
Investigators said Hunt and her sister took care of the rescued animals at their home on Sharon Lane and had a total of about 10 to 15 dogs in their backyard at the time of the attack. Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey knew Mary Jo and said, "She had been rescuing dogs for a number of years.”
Apparently Hunt was trying to use a rake to save a small Pug that was being attacked by the pack of larger Pit Bulls when the Pit Bulls turned on her and killed her, according to reports.
Deputies found the victim lying dead on the ground near the gate of her backyard and finally managed to get the dogs off Hunt, but she was already dead, Sheriff Sealey told reporters. He said Mary Jo was "mangled" and her clothes were torn off.
Two other dogs who were not involved in the attack were also seized and are being kept in isolation at Robeson County Animal Shelter, reports WSOCTV.com.
Sheriff Sealey said a female Pit Bull was also injured and is being treated by a veterinarian.
According to reports, officers from four jurisdictions responded to the 911 call. Neighbors who heard the noise and ran to help Mary Jo witnessed the gruesome scene and reportedly one of them tried to save her. An unidentified person stated to reporters that the dogs "almost ripped her arm off."
At first five of the ten dogs were definitely identified as Pit Bulls, but later investigation disclosed that seven appeared to be that breed. The dogs were euthanized by animal control because they had been involved in killing a human, reported MyFox8.
Mary Jo's death has been so far ruled accidental. Deputies say once their investigation is complete, they will turn the findings over to the Robeson County District Attorney who will decide what, if any, charges will be filed.