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CBS2 Exclusive: Man Feared For His Life As Pit Bulls Mauled Him On Bronx Street

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A man was just walking to work when he came face-to-face with two dangerous dogs that left him mauled and terrified.

As CBS2's Matt Kozar reported exclusively Saturday night, Francesco Bove, 62, did his best to fight off the dogs as they bit him and pulled him across the street Friday morning.

Police said the vicious attack happened around 9:40 a.m. Friday on Belmont Avenue between 187th and 188th streets in the Belmont section of the Bronx, WCBS 880's Jim Smith reported.

Bove was on his way to work at a nearby church at the time, and said he approached the dogs because they were wagging their tails at him and seemed friendly. He is a dog lover.

But he said when he stretched out his hand, the dogs leapt at him.

Graphic Video: Woman Charged After Pit Bulls Attack Man On Bronx Street

YouTube video of the incident starts with two white pit bulls attacking the man as he stands in the street.

The person walking the dogs can be seen trying to restrain them, but to no avail. The victim then falls to the ground as the dogs continue to attack.

As the video continues, neighbors rush in to try and get the dogs off the victim while a person can be heard calling 911 to report the attack.

One person was also seen trying to spray the dogs with a hose.

With the help of several good Samaritans, the bloodied victim is able to get away from the dogs after several minutes.

Warning: Video Contains Graphic Content

YouTube Video: Two Pit Bulls Attack Man On Belmont Avenue

Bove, who is from Italy, invited CBS2's Kozar into his room at St. Barnabas Hospital. Groggy and in pain, he said he had more stitches that he could count.

"My left arm needs to be surgery again," Bove said.

The dogs also ripped off his right ear, which doctors put back together.

"No time to think -- just defending," he said. "I was defending myself the best I could."

Kozar asked Bove if he was mad at the dogs.

"No. not at all," Bove said. "Mad at the owner and the people – the people whoever trained these dogs this way," he said.

Surveillance video from a deli also showed that firefighters had to blast water at the dogs, who also tried to go after first responders.

It took more than two dozen police officers and firefighters to corral the animals.

Another man, 46, who stepped in to fend off the dogs was also injured in the attack and taken to Saint Barnabas Hospital, sources said. He suffered injuries to his arms and legs and his condition was also reported as stable, sources said.

The dogs' owner, 55-year-old Cynthia Oliver of the Bronx, was taken into custody and was also taken for a psychiatric evaluation, sources said. She was charged with eight counts of assault and two counts of reckless endangerment, sources said.

Renee Norris, who recorded the cellphone video of the incident, said this was not the first time Oliver's dogs had gone on the attack.

"The dogs had attacked a guy in the park. They had already – this is the beginning of the summer – they had bit a resident in the building," Norris said. "They almost mauled a dog to death in the same lot."

A devout Roman Catholic, Bove said his faith is carrying him forward. When asked if he thought he was going to die, Bove said "at one point," he did.

Bove said a priest at the church where he works rushed over and gave him his last rites on the sidewalk. He said when the priest touched his forehead, it gave him a strength that he can't explain.

The pit bulls were taken to Animal Care & Control of New York City, authorities said.

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