Surprise woman attacked by Pit bulls in October dies

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by Carina Sonn

azfamily.com

Posted on May 17, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Updated Friday, May 18 at 5:45 AM

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- An elderly woman who was attacked by her neighbor's pit bull dogs last year has died.

Maryann Hanula, 73, was bitten by the dogs while outside of her Surprise home in October 2011.

Since then friends say she underwent 13 surgeries and suffered from multiple infections - spending much of the last seven months in the hospital.

"Her left leg was all bitten to where she has to have metal rods. Also got her arms severely," said Sally Andrade, victims advocate and author of Fabian's Law - an aggressive dog owner responsibility law that was passed last year.

Andrade has no doubt that the attack led to Hanula's death.

The dogs, which belonged to Cynthia Montoya, were shot that night by an off duty police officer who lived in the neighborhood.

Soon after, Montoya told 3TV that she was just as surprised by the dog's behavior.

"The dogs were never raised to fight or nothing, they were family dogs. We never would have had these dogs if we knew they were aggressive or they would hurt someone," Montoya said.

A knock at Montoya's home Thursday wasn't answered. Neighbors said that's because the family moved four to six weeks after the incident.

"If you have a vicious dog and you let it get loose and it attacks somebody for no reason, yeah I think you should be prosecuted," said Hanula's neighbor and friend A.J. Cain.

But that hasn't happened according to law enforcement officials.

A Surprise Police spokesman said the Maricopa County Attorney's Office will likely not charge Montoya, because her dogs did not have a history of violence.

The case is now with the city prosecutor's office where Montoya could face a misdemeanor charge.

Hanula, who cared for her elderly mother, and loved feeding birds, will be laid to rest Friday.

"I don't think that's fair at all. I think somebody needs to be responsible for the dogs. I've never seen any nicer people. They acted like they were so happy, not a worry in the world," Cain said.

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