When he heard screams and saw the blood, Stephen Pellegrini knew he had to do something.
The 52-year-old Renton man was driving to a friend’s house on Beacon Hill Wednesday morning when he spotted two dogs relentlessly mauling a woman near Beacon Avenue South and South Cloverdale Street. He stopped his car and jumped out to help.
“The female was rolling around and covered in blood,” said Pellegrini, noting that several people were standing around without offering to help the woman.
Pellegrini said he yelled at a brown dog, then punched the animal in the snout and kicked it. The dog backed down.
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Pellegrini said the second dog, which was gray and white, then came at him. He picked the animal up by its ears and pulled it close to his chest. He said the dog then bit him in the stomach.
“I had him by the ears to throw him and that’s when he bit me,” Pellegrini said.
Seattle police credit Pellegrini and two others with rescuing the 28-year-old woman from the animals.
She suffered multiple bite wounds, including one to the head, said Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center in serious condition.
Susan Gregg, spokeswoman for the Seattle trauma center, said the woman’s injuries were not life-threatening.
Moore said another rescuer, a woman, suffered bite wounds but she declined to be taken to the hospital.
A third person, a man, got the victim inside his car and away from the dogs, Moore said.
Police said witnesses called 911 to report the attack around 10:30 a.m. Officers were able to capture the two dogs and turn them over to the Seattle Animal Shelter, whose staff will be assisting with the investigation, police say.
Police did not release information about the dogs’ owner. It wasn’t immediately clear if the woman who was attacked lives in the neighborhood.
AfterwardPellegrini sat on a set of stairs and focused on his breathing just feet from where the woman’s blood was spattered on the street. He said he has several medical issues, including heart problems, and said the incident sent his heart racing.
Pellegrini spoke with police and medics at the scene but was not hospitalized.
While Pellegrini was talking, an animal-control officer photographed the bite wound to his stomach and the blood on his arm.
Pellegrini identified the animals as pit bulls, but police only describe them as “aggressive dogs” in a news release. Earlier in the day, police tweeted that the dogs were pit bulls.
Don Jordan, director of the Seattle Animal Shelter, could not be reached Wednesday for comment. According to Seattle police, the dogs will be quarantined and monitored after the attack.
Pellegrini said he can’t stop thinking about the woman and what he saw.
“The screams will never go away,” he said. “I did the best I could do.”