GLENDORA (CBS)  — A retired fire captain was nearly mauled to death by two pit bulls when a police officer happened on the scene and saved the man’s life.

“I thought I was going to die — I thought they were going to kill me,” Milford Fonza said.

The 67-year-old was going on an early morning walk near his Glendora home when the dogs approached him.

“I’ve never been more horrified in my life,” said Fonza, adding, “And I’ve been in some scary situations, some dangerous situations, some life-threatening situations.

“But, when you have two mad, vicious pit bulls attacking you — I mean, it’s horrifying.”

Fonza is no easy target — the retired Compton fire chief used to box — but he proved no match for the pit bulls.

He tried to use his walking stick to fend off the dogs, but the stick broke. He even tried to jump a nearby wall but the dogs dragged him back down. They eventually knocked Fonza down and began a gruesome attack — biting him repeatedly on the face, hands, abdomen, groin and legs.

The former police captain said he wouldn’t have been here to tell the story if he hadn’t been saved by a police officer.

“Thank God for that police officer because he saved my life,” Fonza said.

“One of the dogs had actually circled out into the street in order to come back and attack the man again,” said Glendora police spokesman Lt. Tim Staab. “At that point the officer was able to take his police car and hit the dog to try to get the dog to stop attacking the man.”

Staab said the other dog then tried to go after the officer and was fatally shot at the scene. The dog that was hit by the car was eventually tracked down by law enforcement and tranquilized. It died later at a veterinary clinic.

“For the officer to be in the right place at the right time, we firmly believe that Officer Matt Fenner saved this man’s life,” Staab said.

The owner of the dogs has been cited.

Fonza said once he heals he’ll continue to walk the same route he’s taken for 20 years — but may start carrying a bigger walking stick.

Comments (16)
  1. mike says:

    if you are gonna spread news about dog attacks i think it is only fair that you tell about every dog attack that happens instead of just the pitbulls. you are no better than the people who made those dogs mean. 7 million dog bites every year in the us and you only mention the ones involving pitbulls. im sorry this happened but i bet theres been quite a few dog attacks in the last week in so cal but since its not pitbull related, its not news worthy.

    1. ogscorpion says:

      This is not an issue of singling pit bulls. It is purely by nature that pit bulls are one of the vicious, mean breed of domestic dogs, period.

      1. Bert says:

        Actually, pit bulls by nature are not vicious and mean. They are territorial and they are protective of their family. People make them mean.

  2. Ron says:

    I like the story. However, it has in the title retired Fire Captain. Then in the base of the story it states former police captain. Which is it?

    Good story, just wondering if this gentleman was a police captain or a fire captain. It has in the heading, Retired Fire Captain saved by police officer. But in the base of the story the Fire Captain all of a sudden becomes a Police Captain??????

  3. Vf6cruiser says:

    Any pit bull defender will tell you these dogs aren’t vicious at all they just had bad owners, and the dogs were only trying to joyfully lick this person in a friendly manner………….LOL………….

    THe vast majority of bites and maulings come from these dogs. They shouold be banned, and the owners who persist in owning them should be charged with a felony in cases like this. At the very least owning one of these should require a million dollar liability policy to be in effect.

  4. John Travolta says:

    I hate those stupid dogs……. they are nasty dogs…..

    1. larry says:

      I agree only cement and chain link can hold them in they chew right through wood and wire.

  5. Igor Doublebubblevich. says:

    Had this guy been open carry nothing would have haooened, now the bald effeminate GOV. has taken away that right.

  6. larry says:

    Now it was the stick they attacked and when the wind blows they will attack whatever moves or shakes. Our pit bull has even attacked two of his dog houses one wood the other plastic. Go figure and see above JT reply cement and chain link are not what people are made of.

  7. Duane says:

    Milford Fonza is a retired Fire Chief, not a Fire Captain, and not a Police Captain. The writer of the story must not have done their due diligence and checked the facts.

  8. John Taylor says:

    Bless his soul. I am absolutely grateful that Mr. Fonza is still alive. I wish him a complete, speedy recovery.

  9. doglady says:

    So you have the usual folks defending the pitties blindly and the pitbull haters disparaging them blindly but what about the owner? This would have been easily prevented had the owner kept the dogs in a securely fenced yard.

    Kudos to the cop for doing his job and saving this man’s life.

    Shame on the dog owner who, through negligence, sentenced his dogs to death and allowed them to perpetrate a mauling on an innocent man.

    Lots of things went wrong here but ultimately it is the owner at fault who was irresponsible and negligent.

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