MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - A Moss Point grandmother has been transferred out of the intensive care unit at the Singing River Hospital in Ocean Springs after being mauled by a pit bull Tuesday night. If it hadn't been for the quick actions of a police officer, the situation could have been a lot worse.
The family of Barbara McCauley says she suffered extensive wounds to her arm that will require multiple reconstructive surgeries, a few of which she has already undergone. She also reportedly received multiple puncture wounds to her stomach and legs.
"I just remember walking back there and seeing my mom like that and I honestly thought that she was gone," said Javone Buza, McCauley's daughter. "I did not see her coming out of this."
Buza said the moments that led up to the intense dog attack, which happened on Gregory Street, happened quickly. Buza said her mom was standing on someone's front step after knocking on their door, then the pit bull rushed towards McCauley.
"That's when the dog latched onto my mom's foot," Buza said. "I was told the owner actually grabbed the dog and was trying to hold it as my mom started running to the other neighbors house, but she couldn't get inside. The door was locked."
Buza said the dog chased and continued to attack. And in the middle of the chaos, McCauley suffered a massive heart attack.
"It tore tendons out of her arm, she's got bites on both legs, her stomach, her foot," said Buza, "What if that had been a child? They wouldn't have made it through that."
Moss Point Police officers, including Police Chief Calvin Hutchins, happened to be close by and responded in minutes.
McCauley's boyfriend, Robert Allen remembered the intense scene.
"I came around the corner and saw blue lights," recalled the victim's boyfriend Robert Allen. "The police did good and had to shoot the dog."
The officer who shot the dog said he had to make a quick decision to do whatever it took to stop the animal from killing someone.
"I told everybody to get away from the dog," said Officer Caleb Vick. "And I did what I had to do to eliminate the threat and prevent the loss of life."
Now, McCauley is stable, although her family says it will be a long road to recovery.
McCauley's family says the owner has other dogs that roam around the neighborhood, and that the dog who attacked had been terrorizing the neighborhood for awhile, even attacking another small dog on the street over the last week.
According to Chief Hutchins, the owner of the dog has been identified and will at least face a charge of dog-at-large, which is a misdemeanor violation of the city's leash law.
In Jackson County those leash laws make it illegal for a person to allow their pet to run free without a leash on anyone else's property, as well as on public property, like roads. According to Jackson County Animal Shelter, violations of that law can result in charges against the owner, which can include fines of up to $100 per charge.
Mississippi does not have any statewide breed-specific laws banning certain dog breeds, like pit bulls, although some cities, like Gautier, have enacted their own "dangerous dog" laws, which aims to only judge dogs based on their actions and not their breeds. Moss Point is not one of those cities.
There are also state laws in place that hold someone criminally responsible if a dog attacks and kills a person, allowing the dog's owner to be charged with manslaughter.
WLOX News Now spoke with the victim's family today and will have more on this story TONIGHT at 6 p.m. on WLOX-ABC.