A 72-year-old woman Thursday survived what an official is calling one of the worst animal attacks.
The woman was attending to horses and donkeys in her pasture around 1 p.m. in Freedom Acres when one of the donkeys attacked, said Mark Essary, Houston Mesa Fire chief.
The donkey appears to have thrown the woman around. First the animal bit into her calves, ripping off most of the muscles. Then the donkey bit into her arm and nearly ripped those muscles away as well.
The woman was defenseless against the ass’s attacks.
“These were not like little dog bites, these were full on bites from a donkey, which is like the size of a horse,” he said.
A neighbor finally heard the woman’s cries and noticed her arm flailing on the ground. He got another neighbor who put the donkey into the barn and called for help.
“We don’t know what went wrong,” he said. “It is just a crazy thing.”
The woman had reportedly raised the donkey from a foal and never had any issues with it. In fact, just a week ago, the woman’s grandchildren visited and rode peacefully on the back of the donkey, Essary said.
The woman was conscious when firefighters arrived, but in a lot of pain and losing blood.
Lifestar paramedics took her to Shoofly Ruins where the local Native 7 helicopter crew took her to a Valley hospital.
Essary said it was the worst animal attack he had seen and he has even treated people attacked by a pet alligator.
“I have seen a lot of trauma and as far as animal attacks, this is the worst attack I have seen in 36 years,” he said. “She is lucky to be alive.”
If a neighbor had not found her, Essary believes the woman would have died within a few hours and even now, she may never walk again.
Essary described the woman as a “really sweet old lady” that lived alone. He would not identify her.
“It is just a very unfortunate situation.”