Petaluma man saves woman in pit bull attack

Greg Lichau had moved into his Eighth Street apartment in a Petaluma westside neighborhood last Wednesday, appreciating the picket-fenced homes, kids playing outside and young families pushing strollers along the sidewalk.

About 7 p.m. Friday night while finishing dinner with his girlfriend, Lichau, 62, heard dogs barking loudly at a home across the street.

Then it got worse.

“It was gaining in ferocity,” Lichau said. “And then we heard a human voice screaming.”

Lichau ran across the street and barged inside a house to find a woman on the floor, a pit bull attached to her right forearm.

He said there were three other dogs in the home including one other pit bull, but that couldn’t be confirmed Tuesday by Petaluma Animal Services.

The 44-year-old woman, who has not been identified, suffered serious injuries to her right forearm and was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, the Petaluma Fire Department said. Her condition was unavailable Tuesday.

The pit bull that attacked her - named Clark - has been in quarantine at Petaluma Animal Services since Friday night.

A dog believed to be the woman’s pet, a Lab mix named Mia possibly as old as 10, was injured in the attack, too. She was taken to VCA Animal Care Center of Sonoma County with puncture wounds.

Senior Animal Control Officer Mark Scott, with Petaluma Animal Services, said the woman was fostering Clark through The Tiny Pitbull, a Petaluma-based rescue organization. Clark was in the home a short time.

While Lichau tried to fend Clark off, another dog was trying to nip at the woman’s leg, he said.

“Her arm was so badly tore up that I was doing compression on it,” Lichau recalled. “It was not a scratch, it was a bite and tear. ... It was at least an inch deep that I could see.”

He put a jacket over the first dog’s head and punched the second dog in the face.

It took about 15 seconds, he said, but the dogs finally gave up.

“It was awful,” said Lichau. “It was just instinct. There was not much else to do.”

Of all the neighbors gathered outside because of the commotion, Lichau said, none stepped in to help.

“I realize that people are afraid when a dog attack is going on, but. ..,” he said.

Scott said the woman was trying to break up a fight between Clark and Mia when the pit bull attacked.

Lichau said Mia ran out of the house and hid under a car for about 30 minutes before she could finally be drawn out.

Scott estimated Clark’s age between 2 and 6. The dog has been in quarantine at Petaluma Animal Services since Friday. After the 10-day quarantine period ends, his fate lies with The Tiny Pitbull, Scott said.

Scott said the incident report would not be made public until today, and was unable to clarify exactly how many dogs were involved in the incident or their breeds.

Lichau, who has been nipped before, wasn’t hurt this time.

“But this attack - that pit bull - you could see it in his eyes,” he said. “He had a mission.”

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