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Woman Mauled to Death by Pit Bulls in Truth or Consequences, NM

Apr 26, 2011 – 10:22 AM
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Mara Gay

Mara Gay Contributor

Laura Russell says she can still hear the screams.

The New Mexico woman says she hasn't been able to sleep since she saw her neighbor, Margaret Salcedo, fatally mauled by a pack of pit bulls on Sunday. "I couldn't sleep at all last night. I still have her screams in my head," Russell, who says she immediately called 911, told KOB-TV4.

Salcedo, 48, was on a walk this past weekend in Truth or Consequences, N.M., when Russell saw four pit bulls set upon her without warning not far from her home.

"She looked like a rag doll," Russell said. "She tried getting her phone, and one of the dogs got her arm, and her phone went flying. They had her. They had her back, they had her arm, they had her legs, they were going at her face. Everything."

Police say the vicious attack lasted only about three minutes but must have seemed like a lifetime. "The officer arrived on the scene in less than three minutes, but it must have felt like an eternity to the poor woman being attacked," Truth or Consequences Police Chief Patrick Gallagher told Reuters.

Gallagher said the officer fired his gun into the air to stun the animals but almost became a casualty himself when one of the dogs charged him. The officer shot the dog while the other three pit bulls fled.

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Salcedo was taken to a nearby hospital but died from her wounds. Gallagher said she had lost a lot of blood and suffered "pretty substantial bites" to her arms and legs, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The injured pit bull died, and the other three were taken into custody by animal control and will probably be euthanized. Their owners, John and Maria Hardiman, lived nearby, Gallagher said, but were not home during the attack, the Journal reported. They may face charges.

Truth or Consequences is about 150 miles south of Albuquerque and was named after a TV game show popular in the 1950s.
Filed under: Nation, Crime
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