ELIZABETH, N.J. (PIX11) — Authorities fatally shot two dogs after a mother and her two daughters were injured while splitting up several fighting pit bulls in New Jersey Tuesday morning, officials said.
The husband and father of the victims told PIX11 News they will all recover but the condition of the dogs is another story.
The chaos unfolded in the backyard of a home on Amity Street in Elizabeth around 7:40 a.m. Neighbor Tanesha Morris told PIX11 News she was getting her kids ready for school when she heard the commotion from her second-floor window.
“Usually I hear her with the dogs like talking to the dogs, saying stop or stop playing. Today was different. It went on for like 10 minutes. It went from ‘stop’ to ‘help me’ to ‘call the cops,’” Morris said.
Morris said she called the police as she could see the woman frantically trying to fight back against her own pit bulls. The woman’s two adult daughters tried to help.
“It was two dogs fighting and she had [a] bat, hitting the dog, trying to separate them, and the dog turned around and bit her,” Morris said.
A spokesperson for the City of Elizabeth said a person who was passing by with their dog also got involved in the fight.
Officers responding to the incident shot and killed two of the dogs and Animal Control took three other dogs into custody, officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear if the dogs would be released back to the owners.
The three women were hospitalized with minor hand injuries, according to the city spokesperson. It wasn’t immediately clear if the passerby who got involved was injured or if their dog was among the pets killed or taken into custody.
Some neighbors said the dog fight and gunshots have left them uneasy.
“You have an animal; you have to take care of it,” said Mario Moriello.
Morris said she thought the family took good care of the dogs.
“They walk them sometimes. We are humans; things happen. We don’t always know what is going to happen in a dog’s mind,” she added.
No criminal charges were expected to be filed because the victims own the dogs.