Thursday, December 1, 2016

New York: Woman mauled by her boyfriend James Cruz's pit bull is in critical condition; police shot and killed dog

Updates to story: She did not need to get her arm amputated.

New York: Convicted felon James Cruz's mommy and friend rush to his defense after police say he turned his pit bull loose on his girlfriend during an argument, rush to his defense. Friend Erica Kowalski says it's a cover-up by police because "there was no reason for that many bullets"

NEW YORK -- A 33-year-old woman is in critical but stable condition at a local hospital after being mauled by a pit bull, and the dog's owner is in stable condition after being struck by a bullet, Rochester police said.


Maria Schaffer (in later reports she is listed as Mariah Schaffer), 33, of Rochester is expected to survive, but she received multiple, serious wounds throughout her body from the dog attack, Deputy Chief Scott Peters, Rochester Police said.

Police were called by a resident at 130 Rockview Terrace as well as neighbors about 1 a.m. Wednesday for a report of "a woman being mauled by a dog," he said.

Officers arrived saw Schaffer unclothed on the ground being attacked by a large pit bull type dog that was "biting and chewing various areas of her body "  at the end of the driveway, he said.


Jamie Cruz (aka James Cruz), 34, the owner of the dog, could not get the dog to respond to verbal commands and told the officers to shoot the dog, he said.

Schaffe was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital, where she was listed in CRITICAL but stable condition, according to police.

Neighbor Louis Crocitti said his family heard the commotion just after 1 a.m. He grabbed a bat and started to run to the woman's aid, but police arrived quickly.

“My oldest son woke me up out of a sound sleep,” says Louis Crocitti. “He said Dad, a lady is being attacked. Someone is being attacked, so I jumped out of bed, got dressed real quick, and grabbed the baseball bat. I was just thinking of the lady and thinking she's being mauled. The fight was knocked out of her. She wasn't even screaming or anything at that point.”

"I backed off because I knew they were going to get out and have to shoot the dog," Crocitti said.

"This poor lady had the fight knocked out of her," he said.

In the video clip, Mr. Crocitti said the woman - who'd had her clothes ripped off by the dog - was so exhausted that she wasn't even screaming or struggling against the dog any longer. He said she was on the curb "by that pile of leaves" and trying to sit up, but couldn't. She was "covered in blood".

Mr. Crocitti said he had never seen the pit bull before and didn't even know the owner had a dog.

No other injuries were reported.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 4.5 million dog bites a year and about 30 deaths.  About 800,000 of those bites require medical attention — more than half of those patients are children.

This is Cruz with the pit bull that attacked Schaffer

Right now, police still have to speak with Schaffer and Cruz to determine what led up to the attack. Officers say Schaffer and Cruz have a child together and had an on and off relationship. 

Officers also said they weren't sure why Schaffer was unclothed when they arrived, and weren't sure if it was a result of the attack or not -- but called it "shocking."

We've learned Cruz has several dogs at the house including the pit bull involved in the attack. We also spoke with Cruz's mother who lives there too, she's in disbelief and says she saw the whole thing.


(Democrat and Chronicle - November 30, 2016)

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