Man who saved woman from dog attack speaks

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by Amanda Goodman

Video report by Jared Dillingham

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 16 at 1:45 PM

PHOENIX -- Juan Figueroa, the man who risked his life to save a woman he did not know from a pack of dogs, spoke about the situation at a press conference with the victim's grandson and doctor.

Elia Gutierrez, 72, was collecting cans in Barrios Unidos Park when she was attacked by a pack of rottweilers. Figueroa saw the attack happening, called the police and intervened. Figueroa said he ran to his truck and grabbed a plastic pipe.

"I took the dogs on and swatted them and barked at them" Figueroa said. "They're just going to attack you if you show fear."

Paramedics rushed Gutierrez to the hospital. She had serious injuries from multiple dog bites. Antoine Shagnon, Gutierrez's grandson, said the back of her head was torn up and required plastic surgery. Now, Dr. Paola Pieri of the Maricopa Medical Center says things are finally going well for Gutierrez.

"Everything looks really good," Pieri said. "She has recovered extremely well from her wounds and, in fact, she should be discharged today."

The discharge is good news for Gutierrez's family and for Figueroa, who said he now feels a very personal connection with Gutierrez.

"I'm very glad that Antoine's grandmother, who is now my new nana, since I lost my grandmother not to long ago, is doing very good," Figueroa said.

Shagnon said he thinks his grandmother is very lucky to be alive. Sometimes, luck can be a stranger going to work early one Wednesday morning.

The dogs were all put down at their owner's request. The owner could potentially face fines of up to $2,500 per dog as a result of the attack.

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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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