Authorities said Gloria Edwards was working in her flowerbed late in the afternoon when she was attacked by the dogs. She is recovering from serious injuries to her legs and hands.
Neighbors who heard Edwards scream called 911. One of the officers responding to the scene had to shoot one of the animals, said Roanoke Rapids Police Chief Greg Lawson.
"One of the animals charged the officer and they had to protect themselves, so they had to destroy one of the animals," he said.
The dogs' owner, Kirk Wilkins, who lives a few doors down from Edwards' house, has been charged with keeping vicious animals and allowing them to run loose. He is expected to appear in court in August.
Neighbors said the pit bull attack is the first instance of dogs running loose through the neighborhood, but their concern is the safety of small children who play outdoors.
"There are a lot of kids on this street that play," said Edwards' son, Reggie Edwards. "Who knows what might happen."
Police have recommended to Roanoke Rapids' animal control that it destroy the other pit bill in custody.
Dog Bite Law
, an educational Web site for dog bite victims and dog owners, 21 people died from dog bites nationwide in 2004, including a 3-year-old Harnett County boy who was mauled by a neighbor's pit bull.
Pit bulls, rottweilers and chows were involved in the majority of last year's mauling cases, the Web site said. Pit bulls account for 21 percent, followed by rottweilers with 13 percent and chows at 3 percent.
The Web site also says that no dog is dangerous because of its breed, but is dangerous only as a result of its actions.
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