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.