LAYTON — Cherie Bloom was on the ground, fighting off two attacking pit bulls and screaming for help when she saw two headlights coming up the road.
"I screamed one more time, and they stopped. And he pulled them off of me. And they are the most generous, kind people. So humanitarian," a still shaken but grateful Bloom said Monday.
Joel Haro and his girlfriend, Darlene Moroncini, happened to be driving by when they spotted the attack. The couple stopped and helped get the dogs off of Bloom until police could arrive.
"I owe them everything. The kindness in their hearts, they saved me. They saved me and my dog," Bloom said.
The incident began when Bloom was walking her 11-year-old boxer, Chauncey, about 5:45 a.m. Monday near Reid Avenue and Main Street in Layton. During their walk, they came across a male and female pit bull.
"We were just going for our morning walk. We weren't even a half-block from our house, and we saw two dogs in the shadows and they had their heads (down), walking toward us and I knew, I mean, that's not a good sign. That's a warning sign," she said. "They were going after him to kill him."
The dogs attacked Bloom's boxer. She let Chauncey off the leash to give the dog a chance to run away. "I started smacking (the pit bulls) with the leash and I'm screaming, 'Somebody please help me,'" Bloom recalled.
She was knocked to the ground trying to get the pit bulls off of her dog. She said she suffered about 15 bite marks — most of them she described as puncture wounds — on her calves and hand.
"My lower legs are swelled and bruised terribly," she said.
Chauncey suffered a ripped ear and other injuries that required treatment from a veterinarian. At one point, Bloom said her dog began biting the pit bulls back trying to defend herself.
When Layton police officer Travis Rapp arrived at the scene, he was able to contain one of the attacking dogs by grabbing its collar with his bare hand and holding on until animal control officers could arrive.
"He did a great job," said Layton Police Lt. Shawn Horton.
Horton did not know Monday why the officer used his hands instead of a weapon to try and contain an attacking pit bull, but said the officer likely made the decision that he felt was best for the situation.
Animal control officers were able to capture the second dog a short time later. Although one had a collar, neither had a tag or identification. As of late Monday afternoon, no one had stepped forward to claim the dogs.
Bloom, an animal lover, said even though she was attacked by two pit bulls, she hopes the public will not blame the entire breed.
"I pretty much know somebody is going to say it's all pit bulls. But to me, it's how people are raising these dogs. And I hope that somebody steps up and says they are the owners of these dogs," she said. "There are children in that neighborhood, and if it would have been a child, they probably would have been dead."
Bloom believes something likely happened with the animals previously that caused them to attack, and she called on the dogs' owners to "step up to the plate" and claim responsibility.
Chauncey will be quarantined for 11 days, Bloom said, while doctors watch for signs of rabies. But she said the dog has had all its shots and she expects the animal will make a full recovery at home.
Police, meanwhile, had high praise for the actions of Haro and Moroncini.
"A lot of people are afraid of dogs. Not everyone would be OK stopping," Horton said. "The intervention probably saved (Bloom) from more substantial injury."
Contributing: Devon Dolan