NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A 7-year-old girl was mauled by a dog on the Upper West Side Thursday afternoon.

Police say she was attacked while trying to help out the dog’s owner.

Witnesses who spoke to CBS2’s Ali Bauman struggled to even describe what they saw because the attack, they said, was so gruesome and disturbing.

Thomas Nardini was passing by 79th Street on Broadway just before 4 p.m. when police say a mother handed her 7-year-old daughter a $1 bill to give to a homeless woman who was sitting on the sidewalk with her dog.

“There’s a lady that often is there with her pit bull and every time I walk by with the dogs, the dog growls,” he said.

When the child placed the dollar down, police say the dog jumped up.

“The pit bull grabs her by the face and pulls her away. The woman doesn’t have control of the dog. That little girl is flopping around. I mean, it was awful,” Nardini said.

Nardini says the dog dragged the little girl by her face before bystanders were able to pry the dog off.

“By the time I got there, they were managing to separate them. The woman, everybody by this point is jumping in, trying to, you know, shrieking and carrying on. It’s the worst, the worst of the worst,” he said.

When police arrived, witnesses say they didn’t even wait to call an ambulance. Instead, officers covered the child’s wounds and rushed her to a hospital themselves.

“The worst, horrific thing has happened here,” Nardini said.

The child remained at the hospital Thursday night. Authorities say she is expected to be OK but will likely need extensive cosmetic surgery.

The dog was taken by animal care and control and is currently being tested for rabies. Its owner was taken into police custody for questioning but has been released and is not facing any charges.

Comments (13)
  1. I care about the child not the dog says:

    Justin Theroux defends pits- click here! I rest my case.

  2. I care about the child not the dog says:

    I hate to see this mother called dumb. After all she is surrounded by media that promote the breed (recently ABC news’s David Muir, endless photos of Patrick Stewart lovin’ up his pit, Cesar Milan, etc…long list). This is where people get their get their information. Few ever see the scary number of pit attacks that occur nationwide, and even the local attacks are not followed up on. Does anyone know how the 8 yr. old girl in Riverdale attacked while waiting for the school bus is doing? Was that dog handed back to its owner and living among us? Not a word. And will the dog in this story be “evaluated” and sent to a shelter to be adopted out again? (Yes, that happens. It’s called no-kill)) If so, we won’t know about it. Neither will the well-intentioned family that adopts it next. The news media could do so much to save lives but chase clicks instead. If tomorrow offers more clicks from a photo of Patrick Stewart, that’s what we’ll see.

  3. But…but, it’s a Nanny dog… snark, beast

  4. Noma Sydiotas says:

    What a stupid mother. Big heart, no brain.
    She set up her own baby for a mauling by allowing her near an unknown dog, but most especially a pit bull. That poor baby. Her mother should have protectively put herself between the baby and the pit and walked as far away around them as they could get. Charitable heart is good but always take a pass if there is a pit anywhere near.
    Totally preventable, just dumb dumb dumb.

  5. scribeofsolomon0522 says:

    The dog needs to be euthanized and the breed needs to be banned. And no, it’s not a question of “training.” The issue is pit bulls are BRED for unprovoked aggression and the hold-and-shake bite style which makes them better fighters in the pit.
    For more information, check out

    1. Raphael Puroz says:

      100% correct!

  6. Cynth says:

    CBSN, is it possible to report or have removed a comment? Christopher Dehlinger is threatening the person quoted in the article. Can his comment please be removed?

  7. shimmer2 says:

    Terrible another child is deformed by a Pit Bull and the owner gets away scott free. Pit lovers can’t stand these stories, they rant and threaten and bully just like their dogs

  8. Christopher Dehlinger says:

    you dont know the first thing about pitbulls or what happened there today … that story was so fabricated to make it look like t was way worse than it was … hey cbs the girl wasnt dragged by the dog … wait till i see you mr. Nardini you lying sack of bleep

    1. Raphael Puroz says:

      As a former Pit owner I can tell you that these dogs are dangerous. My 3yo pit, who we thought to be friendly and docile, attacked and killed our neighbors dog in about 3 seconds in an unprovoked attack. When I tried to get the dog under control, it attacked me as well. Thankfully, I was strong enough to overpower it and put it down. If it had been my wife, the situation could have been far worse.

      People who defend those dogs are ignorant.

    2. Kathryn Tobacco says:

      Thank you for showing your true colors Christopher Dehlinger by threatening a witness to the attack. You don’t need to know anything about pit bulls to witness a worthless pit attacking a little girl. I believe the witness over you. Was that your Mommy begging on the street? Do you beg for a living too? Maybe you both need to get real jobs.

  9. Who cares says:

    Outraged that homeless not charged. If it was a homeowner you betcha. Hey helen rosenthal do something about homeless or don’t you live in the city any more

  10. LightsOn says:

    This happens every day with these pit type of dogs. Sorry for anyone other than the owner that gets mauled. Their life forever is changed or ended just because someone wants to have one of these as a “pet”.

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