Tempe woman attacked by dog wants owner to pay medical bill

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A Tempe woman was attacked by a female Pitbull mix while on a walk with her dog.

"I picked up my dog and before I knew it the Pitbull bit me on my arm and knocked me on the ground," said Joanne Penneso.

She tried holding onto her small dog Rudy, who was also bitten on his backside.

Penneso said she "…was basically staring at death in the face."

Her arm was nearly ripped off and the bite left her skin black and blue.

"I was on the ground. I was wrestling with a Pitbull saying ‘My life could be over just like that.’ It was the scariest thing I've ever had to go through and on top of that to deal with animal control who in my opinion really needs to change their system," said Penneso.

She called Maricopa County Care and Animal Control (MCCAC) several times to find out what happened to the dog, but heard nothing.

Penneso wanted the dog's owner to pay her $300 medical bill.

Instead of getting an update, she got a letter from MCCAC asking her to pay for public records, something Penneso considered a slap in the face.

3TV learned the dog was euthanized because no one claimed her.

MCCAC’s policy is to only share this information with the pet owner, not the victim.

That's why Pennesso was left in the dark, but according to MCCAC spokesperson Audie Greabear this could change.

"We could start looking into, letting the victims know, disclosing the information of the outcome of the animal to the victim, so they could feel more secure in their neighborhood and feel more safe." said Greabear.

A change in policy is exactly what Penneso wants.

"If I hadn't called you I would still be afraid right now not knowing if that dog was euthanized or went back to an owner," she said.

As for her medical bill, she has to pay it because the dog didn’t have an owner.