Houston woman clings to life after mauling by stray dogs

Trap set up by Houston authorities at mortuary under which pack of stray dogs believed responsible for vicious mauling of local woman has been living

Updated 6:09 PM

A Houston woman was in critical condition after a vicious mauling Monday morning by a pack of at least 15 stray dogs, reports CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV.

Family members tell the station Maria Arcos, 52, was walking to a nearby bus stop, heading to what was to be her first day on a new job as a housekeeper when a pack of mixed-breed strays surrounded her and brought her to the ground under an overpass.

Houston Animal Control Manager Chris Glaser says a railroad employee saw the attack and called for help. "With that many dogs on her, she was being (dragged) up and down the street," Glaser said.

Arcos was still conscious when officers got to the scene, but her family say the stress of the mauling caused her to have a heart attack.

"Supposedly, in 48 hours, if she doesn't get better, she's not going to make it," Acros' stepson, Oscar Reyes, told KHOU.

Reyes says the dogs tore off Acros' clothes and bit her all over. He says Arcos has severe wounds over most of her body. "[They bit] her arms, her legs, her neck -- they cover her," Reyes says. "They was eating her. The dogs was eating her to the bone."

He says most of the family has been staying by Arcos' bedside at an area hospital.

Animal control officers later found the pack responsible for the mauling living under a nearby mortuary, KHOU says, blocked the dogs underneath the building, and tried to lure them into a single trap. Officers had captured five of the dogs by late Tuesday night.

Two of them appear to be only about four months old.

"Most of the time, you won't have them acting out in an aggressive manner like this. Usually you'll have one or two, but an attack like this is very rare," Glaser said.

Glaser said one of the dogs, a pit bull mix, appears to be the leader of the pack. He believes at least ten dogs are still underneath the mortuary.

He also told KHOU that all the dogs are likely to be euthanized so they can be tested for rabies.

Officers have been stopping by that business several times a day to check on the trap.