Mary Katherine Carroll has always been an animal lover, especially of dogs. She grew up around dogs and always had dogs growing up.
She even got her bachelor’s degree in animal sciences.
It was the very animals she loved that would cause her the greatest pain she’s experienced in her life.
Carroll was out jogging at night recently when she noticed a pit bull coming toward her.
She yelled at the dog to go home.
“I’m familiar with dogs and usually, if you speak to them in an authoritative voice, they’ll go on,” Carroll said.
The dogs didn’t go away.
One of the dogs bit Carroll on the back of her leg, and then, four other dogs jumped her.
Carroll was able to stay upright and was trying to make her way to a front porch, so she could get help.
“I remembered I had my phone, and I tried to make a call, but before I could, one of the dogs jumped up and bit my bicep and pulled me to the ground,” Carroll said.
She was able to get back up, all the while the dogs were biting and tearing the flesh and muscle on her legs, groin and arms.
Carroll said a lady familiar with the animals emerged and began to yell at them.
She told Carroll to put her arms around her neck, and the lady put her arms around Carroll’s waist to hold her up.
It wasn’t until a man in a pickup truck stopped, got out and asked what was going on that the dogs ran away.
“The lady put me in her car, brought me to DeKalb Regional Medical Center and stayed with me until my husband, Jayson, got here,” Carroll said.
Once at the hospital, Carroll underwent about five hours of surgery to sew tissue, muscle and skin back together. When she arrived, both of her calf muscles and her left bicep were hanging from her body, and she had suffered lacerations all over her arms, legs and groin,
All together, she had about 100 centimeters of lacerations, with several of them being all the way down to the bone. Several of the wounds were mere centimeters away from major arteries.
“I’m so fortunate to be alive,” Carroll said. “The doctor told me he could stick his fingers all the way to the bone in the wound on my bicep and could feel my brachial heartbeat. If the dog had severed either my brachial artery or my femoral artery, I probably would’ve bled to death.
“I thank God for watching over me. I’m truly blessed to be alive. I’ve had two children, and this was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. I could’ve lost my job over this, because I’m, as a nurse, I’m not going to be able to work for a while, but everyone at Highlands Medical Center has been so great in making sure my job is secure. I’m so thankful to them. I also thank all of my friends and family who have been praying for me.”
Now, she is pushing for cities to adopt leash laws.
“Cities need laws,” Carroll said. “If this had happened to a child, the child would be dead. I’m an animal lover, but it’s taken this for me to realize that the rights of my dog are less than the rights of my neighbors.
“People need to be held accountable on a criminal level if they have animals running lose. Dogs should never be loose, and they shouldn’t be allowed in packs, especially male dogs. Dog packs can be very dangerous. It’s important that people be responsible pet owners.”
Her daughter, Katie, read a letter aloud to the Rainsville City Council on Monday urging them to adopt a leash law.
“I’m worried for the citizens of this city,” her letter said. “Owners should have consequences.”
Carroll said she intends to take her concerns to the state level and make it a requirement statewide that owners have greater responsibilities when it comes to animals.
The owner of the pit bulls, Steven Nance, was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. The dogs were sent to Auburn University for rabies testing.