Woman barely survives pit bull attack

By Ontario Richardson – bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - A Columbia woman is happy to be alive after she was attacked by a pit bull dog earlier this week.

Tanya Barnes, 47, said her life has been turned upside down. She was consoling a family friend when she was allegedly attacked by one of his pit bulls.

"My friend said that he was going to the restroom, and as he left his male dog got off the couch to follow him and stepped on the puppy," said Barnes. "I didn't even see the female dog move, it was like a rattle snake. I felt the power, and it just took my head and it had its whole jaw in my mouth. And her upper jaw with her teeth right here in my eye. And she just pulled, and as she pulled up she just shook my head."

Barnes said the incident lasted all of 30 seconds. She said while the female dog was attacking her, the owner and the male dog were struggling to free her.

"He came in there and grabbed the dog," Barnes said. "The male dog got back on the couch and saved my life. He yanked that dog. His front paw shows where he was pushing and trying to pull the female dog off me."

Barnes said once she was free, she called 911, but by the time the ambulance arrived she was losing consciousness.

"I don't remember anything else until I woke up and Doctor Pecunia was at the end of the bed telling me that everything went well," said Barnes.

Hattiesburg Clinic Plastic Surgeon, Rick Pecunia said Barnes is indeed a miracle.

"She is extremely fortunate to be alive. The nature of this type of an injury is such that a couple of centimeters or millimeter either way could make the story a lot different," said Pecunia.

He said Barnes has already been through two surgeries and might even have to undergo several more, but she is expected to make full recovery. The pit bulls are currently being held by the Marion County Sheriff's Department.

Barnes said, "I do not think the male dog should be put down. The female dog attacked me. I do not think the one that didn't attack me should be put down."

Authorities have not made a final decision on what will become of the pit bulls or if any criminal charges will be filed against the owner.

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