WONDER VALLEY, CALIFORNIA -- Family members said the pit bulls that attacked and mauled 86-year-old Irma Sampson last weekend should not be returned to the neighborhood.
"I don't want those dogs attacking again," said Sampson's granddaughter Laura Rivas of Idaho on Wednesday. "If it was not for the neighbor who heard her screams,
thank God. Those dogs would have killed her."
Sampson was attacked about 11 a.m. Saturday as she took her daily half-mile to mile walk along a dirt road near her home in the 86-000 of Sampson Avenue in the rural community east of Twentynine Palms, deputies and family members said.
The two pit bulls were running loose when they knocked Sampson to the ground and dragged her, deputies said.
Sampson was saved when a neighbor heard her screams, ran to her aid and chased the dogs away, deputies said. The neighbor fired two rounds in the air to scare the dogs away, Rivas said.
For now, Sampson is continuing to take pain medication and antibiotics while she recovers with relatives in the high desert, Rivas said. Sampson, who now must use a walker, learned at a doctor's appointment Tuesday she had no infection from the mauling, Rivas said.
"I'm doing pretty good but my body gets convulsions on and off and I get kind of weak inside when I think about what happened and what could have happened," said Sampson on Wednesday from a relative's home. "It surprised me so. They started biting me and pulling me all over. I don't know when I'll be able to take another walk in my neighborhood."
This week, the two pit bulls remained quarantined by San Bernardino County Animal Control officials. The dogs'
owner, Charles Wesley Stewart III of Wonder Valley, was cited for various violations stemming from the attack, Sheriff's deputies said.
Animal control officials have not returned telephone calls from The Desert Sun.
Stewart could not be reached for comment.
Sampson is not the only person to be mauled and attacked in eastern San Bernardino or Riverside County recently.
Steve Jenkins, 49, of Pasadena was attacked Jan. 1 by more than a dozen wild dogs during an afternoon jog in the area of Rio Del Sol north of Varner Road in Thousand Palms.
He underwent surgery for his wounds and spent more than a week at Desert regional Medical Center in Palm Springs before he was released.
Kenny Klein covers police, fire and crime. He can be reached at 778-4640.
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