Maryville (WVLT) - Maryville Police are forced to gun down a pit bull after it and a companion pit bull attack their owner. Those pit bulls seriously hurt a Blount County woman in her own backyard Tuesday.
Volunteer TV's Gary Loe is live at UT Medical Center where the dog owner is being treated for her injuries.
Fifty-seven-year-old Susan Hibbard of Maryville is in stable condition at UT Medical Center. A hospital spokesman won't release the extent of her injuries, but Blount County authorities say they've never seen a dog attack "of this magnitude."
Hibbard's neighbors describe a chaotic scene in their usually quiet Maryville college neighborhood. Hibbard lives alone in Maryville's historic College Hill section. Authorities say she was attacked in her fenced-in backyard by the 2 pit bulls she owns at about 2 in the afternoon.
"We could hear the sounds from here," neighbor Tracy Moreno said.
Moreno lives across the street from Hibbard. She and a friend were sewing drapes here in the dining room during the dog attack when they thought they heard one of their children crying.
"We thought it was just the baby, kind of just making a noise, not really distress, but it did sound like a cry," Moreno said.
Moreno found out later those cries came from her neighbor, lying helpless in her backyard as her dogs repeatedly bit her. Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp says Sergeant Eddie Davis was the first officer to come to Hibbard's aid, after neighbors dialed 911.
"He entered the fenced area, took his baton and started hitting the dog, finally got the dog to cease the attack," Crisp said.
Sergeant Davis had to shoot and kill the most aggressive pit bull after it tried to resume attacking its owner.
"Given the circumstances, I think the actions of my officer and the force that he used was certainly reasonable force to eliminate that threat," Crisp said.
Neighbors say they heard possibly as many as 20 gunshots.
"Just heard a pop, pop, rapid and that's when we were thinking, oh, it's probably just the lawn mower," Moreno said.
Animal control officers were able to subdue the other pit bull.
"But, I do have 2 kids and we've been on that sidewalk several times, and I was not aware there were pit bulls in the neighborhood," Moreno said.
Maryville police say they have no record of complaints about Susan Hibbard's dogs. They'll keep her surviving pit bull in custody for several days before deciding its fate. Hibbard continues to receive round-the-clock medical care at UT Medical Center.