A New York woman was arrested after police say she deliberately let her two pit bulls pounce on a man, an attack that sent him to the hospital with several bites and a severed ear, police said Saturday.
Cynthia Oliver, 55, was charged with several counts of assault and reckless endangerment after the Friday night incident near her Belmont Avenue residence in the Bronx, investigators said. Oliver was released on $35,000 bond at her arraignment, but it was unclear whether she had an attorney who could comment on the charges.
Oliver was holding her two pit bulls on leashes, but let go of the restraints, according to the criminal complaint. Police said Oliver deliberately let go of the leashes, but they didn't say why she released the dogs.
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The two dogs attacked 62-year-old Francesco Bove, who at the time was walking to a nearby church where he worked, said his son, Anthony Bove, adding that his father is an artist and animal lover.
The two dogs mauled Bove, leaving him with a severed right ear and lacerations to his chest and arms.
Anthony Bove said a priest who arrived at the scene offered to administer his father the last rites.
A 46-year-old man who attempted to help Bove was also bit and suffered lacerations to an arm. Both men were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The vicious attack was captured on video by a witness (WARNING: the video shows graphic violence). Several people can be seen coming to Bove's aid as they struggled to get the dogs away from him. Bove screamed for help, witnesses said.
"People were trying, but they was also scared of getting too close because they didn't wan to get attacked," Renee Norris told NBC 4 New York.
Firefighters eventually sprayed the dogs with water to keep them at bay. A bystander was then able to leash them.
The dogs were removed and are now in the care of Animal Care and Control.