SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A pit bull bit a cocker spaniel's neck in Normal Heights, traumatizing both owners.
Barbara Pratt, 78, lived in the neighborhood and has been walking a dog at the same time every day for more than four decades. Her black cocker spaniel, Maggie, has been her companion the last 14 years.
She walks with a cane and worries about Maggie, who, she says, has heart failure and an enlarged heart; adding she's on multiple medications, partially due to her age.
While walking on June 23, around 5 p.m. Barbara and Maggie walked around the corner into an alley and saw a large pit bull, named Chevy, and his owner Stephanie.
Stephanie asked 10News not to use her real name, to protect her from backlash she's faced in the neighborhood.
Stephanie says she rescued Chevy from her brother-in-law who had the dog for three years.
"I noticed that he had been bleeding, and they again said they were going to take him to the vet, that they were going to take care of it, but they hadn't done anything for him and he just slept outside he had no shelter," she said, adding that he was kicked and has cancer.
She's had the dog for about three weeks.
Stephanie said she brought Chevy over while holding his collar to meet Maggie, saying he's never been violent before.
Barbara said when they met, Chevy launched toward Maggie and bit down on her neck, not letting go.
"She’s looking up at me with her cataract eyes, like 'help me mama help me,'" Barbara said.
Stephanie empathizes, and says she's heartbroken about the attack.
"I feel so bad for both of them,I saw the fear in the other dog’s eyes and I feel so horrible," Stephanie said crying. "I hate it, but we were hitting him on the head and on his nose, I felt so bad."
Stephanie said she tried to drag him to her door to spray him with the hose hoping that would make him let go. Both women said another neighbor came up and wrapped his hand around the dog's nose to make him release Maggie.
Stephanie said after the attack, Chevy wouldn't let him touch her - and flinched when she tried.
Maggie had several staples in her neck. Barbara says the wounds just missed her jugular vein. She's been back to the vet several times since the attack, saying the injury isn't healing properly and fills up with puss.
The vet bill, as of Thursday, is about $1,600. Barbara says she has another appointment Friday morning. She's most concerned about Maggie's behavior.
"She’s scared of everything," Barbara said, saying Maggie now barks at dogs who pass by and is hesitant when the leash comes out.
Stephanie said finances for her and her husband are tight, but they're taking full responsibility. They got a copy of all the vet appointments Thursday.
"Of course, it’s the least I can do is pay the bill, I would do more if I could, but I don’t know what else I can do," she said.
Concerned that Barbara paid the vet bills from her savings, a concerned neighbor set up a
Stephanie says they'll pay the difference by the end of the week. She and her husband now walk Chevy late at night - with a muzzle - to protect everyone.