A North Charleston man’s pit bull attacked his wife Sunday and tore her arm off.
Katherine Rizk, 48, of Ayscough Road, is “not doing well” after her arm was amputated from the elbow down, according to her husband Mahmoud Rizk. She remains in the intensive care unit at Medical University Hospital.
“It’s been awful,” the 30-year-old said. “She’s devastated, very upset and she’s in shock.”
The dog, named Tiger, was euthanized Monday by the Charleston Animal Society after Rizk voluntarily surrendered him, according to a police report. The organization declined to comment about the incident.
Rizk said he had Tiger for three years, since he was a puppy, and that the pet had never been aggressive before. He said Tiger had been on a golf course earlier Sunday and was cut, and speculated the dog snapped after his wife pressed on the wound while petting him.
“I was shocked,” he added. “Afterward, my priority was just to get him out of the house.”
Katherine Rizk was at their home in Wescott Plantation while her husband was gone, which is when the dog attacked. Officers responded just after 10 p.m. and found the white-and-brown dog with blood stains on his mouth and lower body, according to the report.
One officer distracted the dog, while another rushed to Rizk, who was on the sidewalk, to apply a tourniquet to her arm. The officer who tended to Rizk declined Monday to comment about it.
He described in the report that the damage to Rizk’s left arm was almost up to her armpit, and that she was losing a lot of blood. Witnesses helped the officer, with one tending to the woman’s head and another applying another tourniquet to her legs, where she had more injuries.
It was also a witness who called 911 in an attempt to help Rizk after hearing her screams for help while walking his Labrador retriever. Hugo Montoya said he lives around the corner from the Rizks but doesn’t know them personally. He expressed concern during a Monday phone interview about Rizk after what he saw.
“That was like a terror movie,” he described. “The dog was pulling her body like it was a toy.”
He said Tiger dragged Rizk around three houses and that it only took a few minutes for emergency responders to arrive, but “for me that was an extremely long time.”
“It was so terrifying,” Montoya said. “I couldn’t believe her own dog would do those things to her. I need to remove that scene from my brain.”
It wasn’t until another man drove by, stopped and threw a guitar stand at the dog that he released Rizk from his clenched jaw. Montoya said he thought the pet would attack everyone around, but instead retreated into the home.
Officers were able to lock the dog in a bedroom until Animal Control arrived, according to the report. Mahmoud Rizk arrived a short time later and initially declined to relinquish the pet. Tiger was in Rizk’s custody overnight until he gave him up the next day.
He said Monday that his wife hopes to get a prosthetic arm and that they hadn’t been told yet when she would be released from the hospital. Katherine Rizk wasn’t feeling well enough to comment.
Dave Munday contributed to this report. Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.