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Groton — The town's animal control officer is holding two pit bulls in quarantine after they attacked and severely injured a Siberian husky named Maya on Sunday in a scene one witness called "the most horrific thing I've ever seen in my life."
Ron Gannon, owner of RG Roofing and Remodeling, happened to be working on a roof Sunday in the area of Baker Avenue Extension when he heard a woman screaming. The woman and young child approached asking for help.
"She's screaming frantically, 'Please help, they're ripping her apart,'" Gannon said. With hammer still in hand, Gannon said he ran to 210 Baker Ave. Extension to find the two pit bulls in the yard, both locked onto the husky's throat and "blood everywhere."
"I'm whaling on them with my hammer, and my hammer's not even phasing these things," Gannon said. "If that was a person they'd have no prayer. They were in full-bore attack mode. It was insane."
Meanwhile, Gannon said, the woman who first alerted him to the situation was spraying something, likely hair spray, at the dogs from a distance. It had no effect.
City police and other emergency personnel arrived to a chaotic scene with Gannon begging officers to shoot the dogs. Police opted for a less lethal means and used a stun gun on each dog, according to City Police Sgt. Mark Tourville. The dogs finally broke their grip. One was captured immediately without incident by Assistant Animal Control Officer Christina Donovan, and the other was chased down and captured in Washington Park.
Four dogs - two huskies and two pit bulls - were living in the same home and being looked after by a neighbor when the attack occurred, according to Groton Animal Control Officer Donna Duso. The owner of the home, who was hospitalized for an unrelated illness, owns the huskies, and his roommate owns the pit bulls, she said.
Maya is making a slow recovery, Duso said, but has injuries to her throat and front legs and lost three-quarters of her right ear. She will need extensive follow-up work. Maya and her companion, Rocky, who was not injured, are about 10 years old.
The Groton Animal Foundation stepped in to pay for Maya's initial medical care along with treatment for the minor injuries sustained by one of the pit bulls.
The pit bulls will remain in quarantine for 14 days. Their ultimate fate is undetermined. Duso said the entire case is under investigation and would not comment on whether there would be charges or citations issued to the dogs' owners.
Rocky is being cared for by a friend of the owner. Gannon said he has been visiting Maya at the animal shelter and reaching out through social media to raise funds for the dog's continued care.
"I didn't think there was any way she was going to live," he said.
The Groton Animal Foundation accepts donations at its website, www.grotonanimalfoundation.org, or by mail at P.O. Box 7023, Groton, CT, 06340.