Two dogs were killed during an incident in Spotsylvania in which the dogs seriously injured a young county woman and bit one of the deputies who had come to the scene, police said.

Sheriff’s Capt. C.A. Carey said deputies went to Stonewall Estates subdivision off Old Plank Road about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday after receiving calls about a woman being attacked outside her residence in the 900 block of Stonewall Lane. The attack on the woman was over by then, but the dogs later turned on the deputies and were shot, Carey said.

Dannie Canter, who lives in the neighborhood, said he was on his way home Wednesday afternoon when he heard a woman screaming and saw a dog mauling her. He said several men with garden tools were trying to assist the woman when he got out of his vehicle, ran into the yard and jumped on the dog.

Canter said he managed to break the dog’s hold on the woman long enough for her to slide from under the animal. He said the woman looked like the victim of a “shark attack” and said he wasn’t sure how she managed to get back into her home.

Canter said the dogs remained aggressive, but never left the yard. He said both dogs surprisingly went into their garage when he told them to.

“It was chaotic,” Canter said.

When the first deputy arrived, the dogs came back out of the garage and headed toward the deputy, Canter said. That deputy eventually slipped in a ditch and was bitten by one of the dogs. Canter said he then struck that dog with a flashlight the deputy had dropped.

The dogs went back into the garage again before more deputies and animal control officers arrived. The dogs came charging out again and one was shot by a deputy as the dog lunged toward an animal control officer, Canter said. The dog who had attacked the woman was then shot as he went toward one of the deputies.

“I’m an animal lover and that was a hard thing for me to see,” Canter said. “But the officers did what they had to do under the circumstances.”

Carey said the bitten deputy had a significant wound on the upper part of his leg. He received staples at a local hospital and was released that same night.

The woman, who is in her 20s, was rushed to a hospital and had emergency surgery, authorities said. She was still in the hospital Thursday. An infant was inside the home at the time of the attack and was not harmed.

The large dogs were described as Cane Corsos, or Italian mastiffs. They lived at the same residence as the woman, and Carey said he does not know what caused one of them to attack the woman.

Both dogs were treated at an animal hospital before being pronounced dead.

The entrance to the subdivision was closed for about an hour as the Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident and rescue workers tended to the wounded.

Canter said the dogs never attacked him and he said he realizes he was lucky to not be hurt. He said his main concern is for the injured woman.

“I’m just praying that she’s OK,” Canter said. “It’s hard to get that scream out of my head.”

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

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