72-year-woman attacked by 5 dogs in a Phoenix park

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by The Associated Press and azfamily.com

Video report by Tanya Mendis

Posted on July 9, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 16 at 1:46 PM

PHOENIX -- A 72-year-old woman remains hospitalized after being attacked by five dogs at a Phoenix park.

Phoenix police say the incident occurred about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday at Barrios Unidos Park, which is near 16th Street and Buckeye Road.

They say the victim had been collecting cans as she regularly does in the area.

A passerby saw the pack of dogs attack the woman and called 911.

"My understanding is when they got there, all the dogs were there surrounding the victim," said Melissa Gable, spokeswoman for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.

An officer reportedly shot at a dog who came after him, but the dogs ran home.

Police say the woman sustained multiple, severe dog bites and was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. She underwent surgery and is recovering. Her name hasn't been released.

"We are cautiously optimistic that her recovery will continue and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family," Officer James Holmes said Thursday morning.

Animal control officials say the five rottweiler/pit bull mixes have since been euthanized at the request of their owner.

"Due to the vicious nature of the attack and for public safety reasons, if the owner wants us to euthanize, then that's what we're going to do just because we want the community to remain safe," Gable said.

Authorities say none of the dogs appear to have been licensed. The owner was cited and could face fines of up to $2,500 per dog.

Gable said all five dogs tested negative for rabies at the state lab.

Rosalie Garcia believes the dogs that attacked her neighbor were the same ones that charged her at the park a few days ago.

"I look back and I see three rottweilers after me," she said. "I was scared. The worst day of my life."

Garcia said she ran to a neighbor's house and fought the dogs off with a metal pole.

"I'm afraid to go to the park now," she said.

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A Bank of America account and gofundme.com account has been established for Elia Guiterrez.

If people are interested in donating, they can do so at Bank of America with a savings account setup under the name of Elia Gutierrez.

Click here for the gofundme.com account.

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