Pit bulls attack woman, dog near Zeeland

Police on scene of a reported dog attack on a woman in Zeeland. (June 13, 2014)
Police on scene of a reported dog attack on a woman in Zeeland. (June 13, 2014)

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Holland Township woman is recovering from dog bites and abrasions after she was attacked in her own backyard by two wandering pit bulls.

Family members identified the victim as Rhonda Schroeder, 61.

Schroeder was in the backyard of her Paw Paw Street home around 9 a.m. Friday when the two pit bulls attacked a smaller dog that belongs to a family friend.

Schroeder’s next-door neighbor, Joe Winters, ran to help Schroeder. He said she was trying to protect the smaller dog with her own body, but the larger pit bulls were relentless.

Winters described grabbing the bigger of the two pit bulls around the neck, and punching it as hard as he could as Schroeder kept trying to fend off the second pit bull.

But Winters’ punches didn’t faze the dog. Then he spotted a potential weapon — the nozzle on a nearby garden hose.

“The end of it was hanging loose, and I just started beating that dog in the face as best I could,” Winters said. “And he just shook his head and went back after the other dog.”

Then Winters turned the water on. At one point, he directed the water into the dog’s snout.

But nothing seemed to work.

“I sprayed ‘em both, they’d walk back shake their head and come right back for more,” Winters said.

In the meantime, the Schroeder was being bitten and clawed as she tried to shield the smaller dog.

“She kept hollering, ‘Please help me! Help me!’” Winters said.

Minutes later, police arrived.

A Zeeland police officer shot the first pit bull. It ran off and was later found alive but wounded.

The second pit bull was shot when it charged at an Ottawa County sheriff’s deputy.

24 Hour News 8 tracked the pit bulls owners to a home just a few blocks away from the attack on Chicago Drive.

The owners told deputies the dogs apparently escaped from what appears to be a fenced-in yard.

Records show deputies had been to the home once in 2012 on a loose-dog complaint.

The pit bulls’ owners wouldn’t talk to 24 Hours News 8. However, a man who says he’s a relative did speak.

“It’s a tragedy,” he said. “That’s all I can really say.”

The owners of the two pit bulls were ticketed for having a loose dog.

The smaller dog suffered some puncture wounds and bruised lungs, according to the dog’s owner. He is expected to recover.

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