LAYTON -- Cherie Bloom fought to save her 11-year-old boxer as two pit bulls attacked. But it was the help of two strangers that may have saved them both.
The pit bulls "ripped off the bottom half of his ear, ripped his anal, punctured his legs," Bloom said as her voice cracked with emotion while talking about the injuries her dog, Chauncey, suffered.
Bloom knows Chauncey's injuries and her injuries could have been much worse had two strangers not stopped their car Monday morning and dashed to their rescue. Bloom suffered multiple bites on her legs and was treated at a local hospital. Chauncey was taken to Layton Veterinary Hospital for medical treatment.
Joel Haro and Darlene Moroncini, who never met Bloom until Monday, are being called heroes by Bloom, Davis County Animal Care & Control Services and Layton Police Department.
Moroncini, 22, of Layton, and Haro, 23, of Clearfield, were on their way to their jobs at the Freeport Center when they saw the dogs attack.
"We saw this lady and these three dogs and knew something was wrong," Moroncini said.
Bloom had taken Chauncey for their normal early-morning walk from her house on Stanford Street in Layton. They were walking on Reid Street when she saw something in the shadows under an apple tree.
"I realized it was a dog, and then I saw another on the road, and both were walking very fast with their heads down, and I knew they were coming after us," Bloom said.
Bloom, 43, said she dropped her dog's leash, hoping Chauncey would be able to outrun the dogs. But instead, he turned to keep her safe and the two dogs attacked him.
"I was beating on them and screaming at the top of my lungs, and no one came out of their homes," Bloom said.
Bloom said she continued to kick and scream at the dogs. They then turned and attacked her. As one dog attacked her, the other dog continued to attack her dog, dragging him down the road. Bloom didn't give up, chasing the dogs and hurling herself on them. She finally saw headlights.
"I'm crawling on the road, screaming, and this man and woman come out of their car and he pulls the one by the scruff of his neck off my dog, and the other dog takes off," Bloom said.
Moroncini said when they saw the dogs and the woman in the road, her boyfriend told her to stay in the car. But she ignored him, because a woman was in trouble.
"I don't like hurting animals, but I could see the dog was biting her, so I had to kick the dog," said the 5-foot, 9-inch tall, 120-pound woman.
She then shoved the dog off Bloom, and her boyfriend grabbed the larger dog by the collar.
Moroncini then helped Bloom get off the road.
"In all honesty, I don't feel like a hero," Moroncini said. "I just helped someone out."
Police also showed up about the same time as the couple. A resident in the area had heard a woman screaming and called 911. The police officer called animal control officers.
Police said Haro and Moroncini are heroes.
"We hope most of our citizens would stop if they are driving and see someone is being attacked," said Layton Police Lt. Shawn Horton.
Horton said if the two had not stopped and an officer had not shown up when he did, the injuries Bloom and Chauncey suffered could have been much worse.
"I don't have enough words to thank them for saving my life and my dog's," Bloom said. "They care so much."
Neither dog had tags to identify them, said Davis County Animal Care & Control Director Clint Thacker. He said the dog with the white chest and red collar is an intact male. The white dog with the gray markings is an intact female.
Thacker said the male pit bull had the collar and was restrained by the police officer. The female pit bull ran off when help arrived, but returned and was found circling the animal control truck.
If the owners are found they will be charged with having the dogs running at large, no proof of rabies and no license, Thacker said.
Thacker said if the owners are not found, the dogs will be assessed to see if they could be adopted, but because they have already shown aggression, it is likely they will be euthanized.
Thacker said Bloom did everything right in trying to protect herself and her dog from the two pit bulls.
If a resident is confronted by a dog, they should try to put something between them and the dog, Thacker said. But if a dog, as these two did, knocks a person down, the person should curl up and cover their head.
In Bloom's case, the situation was compounded by the fact she was trying to protect her dog, Thacker said.
"She did everything right, and we're fortunate no one was hurt more," Thacker said.
Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @LorettaParkSE.