Police investigate a dog attack Thursday morning on a 71-year-old woman raking leaves in her yard on Helen Street. She was taken to a hospital with severe injuries and the dog was shot by police. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — A 71-year-old woman suffered severe injuries Thursday morning when a neighbor’s dog attacked her as she raked leaves in her yard on Helen Street, police said.

David Davis, 35, of 12 Myrtle St. was charged with keeping a dangerous dog, failing to license and vaccinate the animal and allowing it to run at large, Lewiston police Lt. David St. Pierre said.

Dispatchers received a frantic call about 11:15 a.m. from a witness who reported a woman was being savagely attacked at 34 Helen St.

“The information indicated the woman was on the ground being mauled by the dog and her arm and hand were severely injured,” St. Pierre wrote in a news release. “The woman reportedly lost consciousness prior to the officers’ arrival as the dog continued its attack.”

Police said witnesses tried to get the dog to release its grip on the woman’s arm.

When police arrived, the dog was still attacking the woman.

“The woman was clearly in distress and was yelling, ‘(the dog) is killing me,'” St. Pierre wrote in the release. “The officer tased the animal, which momentarily stopped the attack, but then it attempted to bite the officer before turning its attention back to the woman, biting her on the face and neck.

“The officer,” St. Pierre said, “fearing that this bite would result in fatal injuries to the woman, shot the dog once with his handgun in the side. Despite being shot, the dog was able to bite the woman one last time before running a short distance where it died.”

Paramedics provided medical assistance before the woman was taken to Central Maine Medical Center where she was being treated later Thursday.

About 2:30 p.m., a relative said the woman was undergoing surgery to repair extensive damage to both her arms, her thighs and her face. She described the attack as a “mauling.”

Early indications were that the dog, believed to be a pit bull, had slipped through a damaged section of a fence to get to the woman’s yard.

The dog owner was said to be devastated over the attack on his neighbor.

The dog’s body was taken to an animal shelter to be transported to the Maine Crime Lab in Augusta for rabies testing, St. Pierre said.

An evidence technician photographed the scene for the ongoing investigation.

Davis was scheduled to appear in Lewiston District Court on Aug. 11. Police said there is a possibility more charges will be filed.

A dog escaped Thursday morning from the backside of this fenced backyard at Myrtle and Helen streets in Lewiston and attacked a woman who was raking leaves in her yard, police said. She was hospitalized with severe injuries and the dog was shot by police. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

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