A 55-year-old woman was arrested in connection with a vicious pit bull attack in New York City Friday morning after she was accused of releasing the animals on another person, the New York Police Department tells PEOPLE – though the victim said the dogs overpowered her.
Cynthia Oliver was arrested at the scene, in the 2400 block of Belmont Avenue in the Bronx, at about 10:35 a.m., says an NYPD spokesperson.
She is charged with five counts of assault and one count of reckless endangerment.
The victim, a 62-year-old male, sustained extensive injuries including a severed right ear, bites to both legs, bites to his chest and lacerations to both arms, the spokesperson says.
The victim’s medical status was not immediately available.
Oliver’s bond has been set at $35,000, according to jail records. It’s unclear if she has entered a plea or retained an attorney.
Oliver’s dogs are in custody, police told CNN. (Warning: the accompanying video is graphic.)
“I got to the hospital and he was in pieces,” the victim’s son, Anthony Bove, told CNN. (Police declined to confirm the victim’s identity to PEOPLE.)
Police told CNN that Oliver dropped the leash of her two dogs after a conversation with the victim, but Bove disputed that. He said there was no conversation, and that his father was walking to a local church when the animals attacked.
“She was a petite, weak lady,” the victim told the New York Daily News. “[The dogs] were dragging her wherever they go and she couldn t hold onto [the leash].”
Witness video from an adjacent building captured the ensuing moments, as the pit bulls leapt and tore at the man in the street, dragging him to the ground.
Someone stood right next to the victim, and appears to have been holding leashes, according to the video.
That person, possibly Oliver, can be seen in the video attempting to control the animals.
A group of onlookers soon formed, trying to help the victim by swinging a chain at the dogs and spraying them with water. The dogs then attacked one of the people trying to stave them off.
The victim, an artist, is reportedly in stable condition and his ear has been reconstructed, his son told CNN.
“My father joked, ‘If those were two lions, I wouldn’t have made it,’ ” Bove said. “He’s a really tough guy.”
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