PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. — A vicious dog attack left an 86-year-old Putnam County woman in the hospital. According to a GoFundMe, Gertrude Bishop’s ear was bitten off and doctors had to amputate her leg as a result.
“They didn’t attack her. They were eating her,” Larry Edwards, a neighbor, said. “My main concern was just to make her as comfortable as I could while she was in so much pain.”
Edwards ran across the street to help Bishop, who neighbors call Terri, as two dogs pinned her down. He was able to use a metal chair to get the dogs off her.
According to a report from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the dogs appeared to be a pit bull mix. The owner told deputies he didn’t know how they escaped their Hawthorne front yard, but admitted they’ve escaped out holes in the bottom of his fence before.
Edwards told Action News Jax that animal control has been called multiple times in the past, and one dog was even taken away by officers but later returned.
“Now somebody wants to do something. Isn’t that the way it goes though?” he said.
This is the second vicious dog attack in Putnam County in just the past year. In August 2022, a mail carrier was mauled by a pack of dogs and died. A memorandum from the State Attorney’s Office said animal control had denied requests from the dogs’ owners to surrender them.
The Board of County Commissioners discussed concerns with animal control in March. They said a major problem is how large the county is, but animal control has little manpower. They discussed suggestions like building a holding facility in the south or west Putnam and improving the process for licensing pet owners.
Action News Jax reached out for an update on the suggestions for change since this most recent attack in Hawthorne. In a statement, a representative said “Putnam County Animal Control is working in conjunction with Putnam County Sheriff’s Office on this case, there is an active criminal investigation ongoing related to the incident. Putnam County does not comment on any active criminal investigation in an effort to allow our law enforcement partners to conduct their investigation thoroughly. Putnam County Animal Control has retained possession of the dogs involved in this case, they are in quarantine at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Gertrude during her time of recovery.”
According to an update on the GoFundMe, Bishop is speaking again and starting to breathe on her own after her amputation at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.
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