By Mark Ackerman
JEFFERSON COUNTY (CBS4) – A Jefferson County woman said she is still recovering nearly a year after she was mauled by dogs trying to save a three-year-old boy in her care.
In a CBS4 exclusive interview, Sharon Molloy said she continues to do occupational therapy and has scars on her arms and legs "that will probably be with me for a lifetime" from the dog attack last August.
Molloy was babysitting at a home in Genesee, when the neighbor's dogs got loose and ended up on the family's porch. She and the children went outside in attempt to return the dogs, a male and female Briard.
"He went up on his hind legs, almost looking like he was going to say hello," she said. "He went down and took the boy and just started mauling him."
Three-year-old Jack Melichar was badly bitten and would need 36 stitches. But, Molloy got the worst of it when she jumped into the fray to save him.
"The dog is attacking me," she said. "So we are in a dog fight."
The bites on her leg and arms went through to the bone. Finally, neighbors stopped the attack with a rake and garden hose before calling 911.
One neighbor told dispatchers "I can see a huge bite in her leg, a hole, so she's in bad shape. She tried to save the baby."
The same caller told dispatchers, "Oh my God. I can't believe these dogs did this to this woman."
Molloy calls her actions 'fight or flight' and didn't have time to think about the pain. She would have stitches and surgery during a five-day hospital stay.
CBS4 spoke with Jack's mother in the days after the attack.
"Everybody says in an emergency, 'Oh this is what I would do.' She actually did do it, like real heroes do. She totally saved his life."
The neighbor was sentenced to community service after pleading guilty to the ownership of dangerous dogs. It's something animal control officers are seeing more often.
"Our animal protection officers are busier than they have been in the past," said Jenee Shipman, manager of animal services in Aurora.
Aurora has seen a 40 percent increase in dog bite reports over the past two years. Denver has seen a 53 percent increase it attributes to better dog bite reporting.
In Jefferson County, there was a slight increase year to year and in Adams County, dog bites were slightly down.
"It's not one specific breed that has increase with bites," said Shipman.
In Aurora, the most dog bite reports were from Chihuahuas. In Denver, the most bite reports were from Labrador Retrievers. In Adams County, most bites were from Pit Bulls and German Shepherds. In Jefferson County, there was also a tie, between Pit Bulls and Laboradors.
So why the increases in dog bites?
A population boom means more people and more dogs living closer together. A trend Shipman sees is fewer dogs being spayed and neutered which can result in more aggressive dogs.
"We are asking individuals to please spay and neuter your pets and make sure they are current on rabies vaccines," she said.
As for Molloy, she's still a dog lover and loves taking her pet for walks, but she admits she's more cautious.
"I am definitely more careful and I choose where I go," she said. "Hopefully I'll never ever have to do that again."
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