WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- A 74-year-old man is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after a vicious dog attack Tuesday morning in Northeast Washington.
Sawney Brown Bell was walking to work on 36th St. NE around 7AM when he was attacked by two dogs that witnesses describe as a Rotwiler/Pitbull mix.
"They were biting him like it was their breakfast, lunch , and dinner," said a witness who asked to remain anonymous.
"The dogs were mauling his face. One dog had him by his skull and he was just ripping, ripping," said Leroy, a neighbor and friend who tried to help by beating the dogs with a metal pole. "I hit the dog in the back, the stomach, the head. Nothing worked!"
Finally, another neighbor let his own dog loose -- a pitbull to the rescue.
"If it wasn't for his dog, they would have finished Mr. Bell off," said Leroy.
Bell was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with bites all over his body and a broken arm. But the dogs ran back the same way they got out, through a gap in the gate in the Towing Pro parking lot.
"These dogs apparently they are part of this business, this towing establishment here," said Commander Robert Contee with the Metropolitan Police Department.
Neighbors say they are notoriously viscous guard dogs. In fact, three months ago the same dogs are believed to have attacked a homeless man on the same street.
"Those dogs have escaped on many mornings and terrorized people on many occasions. They got to a couple of other people before now. I have no reason I can give you as to why the city hasn't responded quicker in removing these animals from this community. There is no excuse," said Tom Brown who lives nearby.
It's a question many people in the River Terrace neighborhood want answered, especially since Towing Pro is one of the Police Department's many contract tow lots.
"I haven't received any complaints," said Commander Contee. "This is not to say that there have not been some incidents, but I have not received any complaints at the police department about dogs from this establishment."
Steve Ghareeb, one of the dogs owners and a Towing Pro manager, was issued two $50 citations for unleashed dogs. Ghareeb could face criminal charges once a joint investigation between police and Animal Control is complete. For now, the two dogs are in Animal Control's custody.