A Bronx woman was charged with assault and reckless endangerment after she allegedly ordered her two pit bulls to attack a man on Friday. That victim, 62-year-old Francesco Bove, said he was so scared after the attack, he asked for last rites from a local priest: “I told him I feel I’m dying,” Bove told the News from his hospital bed.
Bove, an artist who lives in Coney Island, told the paper that he was headed to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Belmont Ave. and E. 187th St. about 9:30 a.m. Friday when he was attacked by the dogs. Police said that 55-year-old dog owner Cynthia Oliver got into an argument with Bove, and she allegedly purposefully let her two pit bulls off their leashes to attack him.
But Bove insists he never actually talked to the woman. Bove, who was in the neighborhood to explore ways to restore the church’s marble facade, says he thought the off-leash dogs, who were wagging their tails, approached him to be petted. "They came to me, and I thought they were friendly but they jumped on me and I felt the bite," he said. "I started to kick them off. I lost a big chunk of my arm. I could see it. I could see the bone."
Bove said the dog ripped off most of his right ear; he also suffered lacerations to his chest and arms, which will require more surgeries to fix. "It was very clear by his clothes that while he was on the floor the dogs wanted his blood...they wanted it,” Bove’s son Anthony Bove told the News. "They were licking the blood where it was sprayed on the street."
For his part, Bove told CBS he doesn't blame the dogs: "No. not at all," Bove said. "Mad at the owner and the people—the people whoever trained these dogs this way," he said.
Various locals say this isn't the first time these dogs have attacked people: “The dogs are vicious,” neighbor Marguerite Gauthier, who says one of the dogs bit her on the leg early last year, told the News. "When I go out, I always look to make sure they’re not around."
Renee Norris, who recorded the cellphone video of the incident, told CBS they also had attacked a man in the park at the start of the summer.
Oliver has been charged with eight counts of assault and two counts of reckless endangerment. The dogs have been taken to Animal Care and Control, where they may be euthanized after a 10-day observation period. "I’m so sorry that they’re going to put them down," Bove added.