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from NY Newsday


Grandmother mauled to death by family's pit bulls

December 10, 2002, 6:08 PM EST

GARFIELD, N.J. -- An 80-year-old woman was mauled to death by two pit bull dogs that she had known since they were puppies, Bergen County authorities said Tuesday.

Wounds caused by claws or teeth covered more than 80 percent of Julia Mazziotto's body, and the medical examiner found she had also suffered a broken right wrist, county Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said.

Blood soaked her clothing and was spattered on the walls and floor of her apartment, he said.

"There was no warning, no signal, no nothing whatsoever," said David Fox, the family's lawyer. "The family is distraught. These animals were their pets without any incidents in the past."

He and authorities said they do not know what caused the dogs to attack the woman.

Mazziotto was found about 9:30 p.m. Monday by her granddaughter and the granddaughter's boyfriend, who shared the apartment with the older woman.

They owned the dogs, which will be euthanized within three days, Molinelli said.

No charges were filed in the case, he said.

"There does not appear to be any criminality here," the prosecutor said.

Mazziotto had been alone since 11:30 a.m. with the animals, which the family used as watch dogs, witnesses told authorities.

The dogs are being held in kennels behind the Bergen County Jail. They were identified as Shay, 7, and Onyx, 1{. Both animals attacked the woman, Molinelli said.

A phone at the Mazziotto residence rang unanswered Tuesday afternoon.

Copyright © 2002, The Associated Press

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