"I was screaming for my life and saying, 'I'm not going out like this,'" she recounted Thursday from the living room of her city home, not far from the spot where the three dogs pounced on her early Monday morning. "It seemed like I couldn't scream loud enough."
Her pastor, the Rev. Clarence Samuels Johnson of Refreshing Spring Church of God in Christ, who had come to check up on her, sat on a couch across the room listening to her story.
The woman's harrowing ordeal began around 12:15 a.m. Monday when she left her Lincoln Avenue home to get money from the ATM at Zaid Discount near the corner of Albany and Hulett streets.
On her way there, she spied one of the dogs prancing her way but was able to avoid the animal when it stopped in the street for a passing car.
But coming back home would be a different story.
She told her pastor she went against her religious premonition to take a different route and estimated she was about two car lengths away on the sidewalk when the first, and largest, pit bull began charging towards her.
She tried to dash for the front door of 348 Hulett St. to get help but by then the dog and a second, medium-sized one, had already knocked her to the ground when the third, and smallest, pit bull joined them.
Lucas, 58, began yelling while desperately trying to fend off the animals with kicks and punches.
When that didn't work and the dogs started dragging her, she used her hands to try and cover up her face and head. She then began praying.
|The area of the pit bull attack|
"The next thing I heard was a Taser and then the one dog that was on me sat up like he didn't do anything," she said.
It was then that she heard the voice of a female, wearing tan pants and a white shirt, who she later found out was the owner, yelling to police, "don't shoot, don't shoot" to which Lucas responded, "shoot, shoot."
Neighbors had called 911. Police tasered the most aggressive dog, and the owner, meanwhile, had gotten the other two off of Lucas, the victim said.
Police have identified the dog's owner as 21-year-old Jasmine L. Tirado (Jasmine Tirado) of 347 Hulett St. She has been issued appearance tickets for having one unlicensed dog as well as three separate tickets for harboring dangerous dogs. She is expected to be in court to answer to the charges on Sept. 12.
Tirado could not be reached Thursday for comment.
Two of her dogs, an adult male and female, were euthanized and will be tested for rabies by the state health department. The third animal is being held at the Montgomery County SPCA for 10 days and will then be euthanized.
Lucas returned home Wednesday from Albany Medical Center Hospital around 6 p.m. in a lot of pain, for which she is on painkillers and antibiotics, with upwards of 200 stitches and staples to close gashes on her forehead and head.
Her arms and legs are heavily bandaged, patches of missing hair reveal her skull, her ears are mangled and will need to be surgically repaired, and for the foreseeable future she will need a cane to get around.
Still, she said she is thankful to God for being alive and hopes to regain her strength so she can see her 8-year-old granddaughter off to school on Sept. 6. "I know God answers prayers," she said.
In the meantime, Lucas relies on her son Derrick, 35, and daughter, Darcelle, 28, as well as Barbara Hawkins, a member of her church, to care for her. She is scheduled to return to the doctor Tuesday.
Lucas said she would like to see harsher penalties for dangerous dogs and aggressive breeds of dogs like pit bulls, particularly when their owners don't keep them under control.
"I think pit bulls should be put in a zoo so they can be viewed from a distance," she added.
BRAD SHEAR = APOLOGIST
"The issue is the way they are trained and the way they are raised because any dog can be turned into a vicious dog if they are not cared for properly," he said.
He said pit bulls have gotten a bad name because too often they tend to be the dog of choice for individuals involved in illicit activity.
"That breed of dog is popular because of the reputation it has as a vicious dog, which is not well deserved," Shear added.
|Brad Shear, shown here with his|
pet cat, says blame the deed,
not the breed.
Bad shelter tag added to this article due to his ridiculous comments and the fact that he is the mouthpiece for the shelter.
Though Lucas couldn't remember how long Monday's attack lasted, she said "it seemed like an eternity."
In a light moment, she recounted how the smallest dog appeared to "carefully" slip the watch off her wrist. She hopes to get the time piece back and a sentimental bracelet she has worn since 1967, both of which were lost in the struggle with the dogs.
(Times Union - August 26, 2011)