Woman mauled by pack of dogs

August 20, 2010 2:48:07 PM PDT
A woman is in serious condition after she was mauled by a pack of dogs in the city of South Houston. If neighbors hadn't heard her screams, her injuries could've been much worse, even fatal. We have the 911 call from a neighbor who may have saved that woman's life.

We are learning more about those terrifying moments after Friday morning's vicious dog attack. We want to warn you the nature of the attack and the injuries suffered by the victim are graphic.

Hours after the incident, authorities caught two pit bull mixes matching the description of the dogs from Friday morning's attack on a transient woman. As police investigate, we're learning more about what happened to her through an eyewitness' desperate call to 911. The caller could hear the woman screaming and found her lying in the street on Montana near Beaumont in the city of South Houston.

Operator: Is she bleeding or anything?
Caller: I believe it's a dog bite. She doesn't have any hair.
Operator: Where is she bleeding from?
Caller: From her head.

The attack by at least three dogs was so vicious, her scalp was left partially exposed. The victim's arm was also broken and her eyelid was severely damaged. She was airlifted to the hospital.

Police believe the dog's owner may have been using the animals to protect his property, which was recently burglarized. They are now talking with the owner, though it's unclear if he'll face any charges.

"We're OK if they are in a confined area, and they're protecting your property, but as far as running through the streets outside of the property, it could be in violation," said Chief Herbert Gilbert of the South Houston Police Department.

If you find yourself in a similar situation and there's no one around to help, dog experts say there are ways to prevent an attack: don't run, avoid direct eye contact and don't let the dog get behind you.

"You give your back to the dog and you start running, the dog might chase you and drag you down from the back. You don't know where the dog's coming from. It just puts more risk on you," said Humane Officer Cesar Cabrera.

Police are still trying to determine who owns the three dogs now in custody and whether they are indeed the animals involved in the attack. One of the dogs had what appeared to be blood on its collar, so that'll be checked and turned over to police.

"We check for blood on the dogs to see if there's any blood spattered on their chin and mouth, if there's any tissue between the teeth," said Cabrera.

Police say the victim is Laurie Faye Schissler, 48 and she was transient.

"She's familiar with this area right here, and she walks around. She walks in this area all the time, and a lot of people know her," said Tommy Savell, code enforcement officer.

Schissler is in the Intensive Care Unit at Memorial Hermann Hospital. She has multiple injuries -- her scalp is exposed, eyelid damaged, and she has a broken arm from a bite, as well as various other bite injuries.

Authorities say they may still take other suspect dogs into custody to see if they may have committed the attack.


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