78-Year-Old Woman Attacked by Pit Bull in New Haven: Officials

A 78-year-old woman was attacked by a pit bull in New Haven on the Fourth of July.

Hearing cries for help, neighbor Tonya Crump, grabbed a board from her garage and ran from her Hubinger Street home.

"I wasn’t worried about me, I was more worried about her," Tonya Crump said. "I started screaming for my husband as I’m grabbing the stick for him to come follow me. He starts running behind me, and he says, 'What is going on?' and I said, 'Come on! Get the dog!'"

They saw their 78-year-old neighbor in her backyard being mauled by a pit bull. The owner of the dog was screaming and trying to get the animal off of the victim.

New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said the dog's owner is a new tenant and the 78-year-old victim is the landlord. The tenant was introducing her two dogs to the landlord in a fenced-off area of the backyard when the pit bull attacked the landlord, investigators said. 

"They were covered in blood. I couldn’t tell who was bleeding," said Crump's husband, Jaye Crump. "It wasn’t nothing to think about. I just had to get the dog off the ladies."

Jaye Crump grabbed the board from his wife and hit the pit bull with it until the animal let go. After knocking the dog out, neighbors locked the animal in a cage.

"I just got the dog off her, but they helped her until the paramedics got there," said Jaye Crump.

Tonya Crump is a surgical technician and another neighbor who was at the scene is a registered nurse. They both began administering first aid to the 78-year-old landlord.

"I ran in the house and grabbed some sponges and some gloves," Tonya Crump said. "We started applying pressure and told her to keep talking."

The victim was in serious condition after sustaining injuries to her face, head and arms. She had lost a large amount of blood because of puncture wounds and needed surgery at the hospital. She is consulting with a plastic surgeon, Alston said. 

"The neighbors saved her life,” the fire chief said. "At that age, 78 years old, there was a large loss of blood, all defensive wounds. Plus the dog actually attacked the back of her head and neck, so the neighbors are heroes today."

Alston said when he saw the victim at the hospital she was bandaged up but alert and speaking.

"She’s a fighter. You can tell by her wounds that she’s a fighter," said Alston.

Neighbors said they’re just grateful they were there to help.

“We were just all in the right place at the right time,” said Tonya.

Animal control has the dog under quarantine. New Haven police say they are trying to learn more about the dog's background before deciding on the next steps.

“There needs to be a history looked into for the dog, has this dog been the subject of a prior attack, was this dog recently adopted out?” said Officer David Hartman.

At this time, no charges have been filed against the dog’s owner, and police said it’s unlikely there will be.

“Thus far we have not determined anything criminal has occurred - this was not a dog allowed to roam, this was not a dog that jumped out from behind a bush and attacked somebody,” Hartman said.

The investigation is ongoing.

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