Two people were rushed to the hospital following an attack by their dog outside the couple's home in Exeter Township, Berks County, on Thursday.
A neighbor, rushing to the couple's calls for help, shot and killed the pet male pit bull before it could harm anyone else, police said.
"I'm shook up yet," said Shirley Hodowanec, a neighbor who witnessed the incident, reported just before 11 a.m., in the 5800 block of Boyertown Pike, or Route 562.
According to police on the scene, the pit bull's female owner found the dog up the street, put him in her car and drove home. She was attempting to get the dog out of the car when she was reportedly bit on the hand, and started screaming for her partner.
"He came out and tried to help her get away from the dog, at which point the dog attacked him," said Sgt. Steve Schaeffer, Exeter Twp. Police Dept.
Schaeffer told 69 News that the dog ripped off the male owner's thumb and punctured his arm.
"The dog would not let [him] go," said Hodowanec. "And he was screaming, 'Help me.'"
Several neighbors rushed to the couple's aid, with one attempting to subdue the dog by striking it with a metal bar, police said. When that didn't work, police said another neighbor shot and killed the dog. No one else was injured.
The couple was transported to Reading Hospital for treatment. A representative there told 69 News on Thursday afternoon that the woman was listed in "good" condition, while the man was transported to another medical center.
The Animal Rescue League arrived on scene to collect the pit bull, which neighbors said was always gentle and obedient prior to the incident.
"[It's] very, very unusual," said Hodowanec.
Sue Stiely, a kennel technician for the ARL, told 69 News that the behavior could have stemmed from trauma that occurred while the dog was loose outside of the owner's property.
"If he's been off the property and gotten scared, you know he doesn't quite know what's going on," she said.
Stiely added that the dog, estimated to be between 50 and 60 pounds, was not neutered, which could have played a role in the aggression. She said rabies was a possibility, and the dog would be tested for the viral disease within 24 hours.
"These guys can be house dogs. They can be great pets, just like any other," said Stiely. "It just takes the right person to have one."