New Smyrna Beach couple 'mauled' by 'vicious' pit bull rescue dog in their own home: 'Tearing their flesh'

What should have been a day for flowers and relaxation turned into a time of terror for a New Smyrna Beach couple who were "mauled" by their rescue dog in their home on Mother's Day. 

Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood shared their story on social media on Monday. 

Three deputies responded to a home on Josephine Street on May 12. That's when they "found a large dog actively attacking its owners inside their home," Sheriff Chitwood said. The couple had adopted the pit bull about a month and a half prior to this attack, and it was the second attack within that week. 

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If the deputies had gotten there "one second later, we wouldn't have made it out alive," one of the dog's owners said in an email to the sheriff. 

Volusia Sheriff's Office deputies saved a New Smyrna Beach couple from a "vicious" dog attack on Mother's Day. (Photo: Volusia Sheriff's Office)

The incident happened after one of the owners came back home from walking the dog, according to an incident report from the sheriff's office. 

"The dog's still attacking them right now, we need someone to shoot the f****** dog," a neighbor said while on the phone with 911, according to audio obtained by FOX 35. 

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The neighbor said the homeowner had a handgun and was trying to shoot the dog to stop the attack, but no gunshots were fired by him during the incident, deputies said. 

"It's bad," the neighbor said of the owners' conditions as a dog is heard barking in the background. "He's like grabbing into and tearing their flesh."

When deputies arrived, they found the female dog owner inside the dog's cage "to escape and protect herself," according to Sheriff Chitwood. At that point, the pit bull "had turned to the male victim and was mauling him on their bedroom floor," the sheriff added. 

"Deputies could actively hear screaming coming from within the residence, deputies made entry into the residence. Upon entering Deputy De La Rosa opened the bedroom door slightly. A brown Pitbull began growling and charged the door. Deputies observed fresh blood splattered around the room and heard two voices yelling for help," an incident report from the sheriff's office said. 

To prevent the dog from attacking its owners more, a deputy fired off two shots from his agency-issued gun. Sheriff Chitwood said "fatally wounding" the dog was the deputies' only option to stop the attack. 

After the first two shots were fired, the dog "began to charge the deputies," the report said. A third shot stopped the pit bull from moving until it eventually died, deputies said. 

Deputies provided medical aid to both homeowners before they were transported to a local hospital, where they remained for several surgeries. 

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"This weekend the deputies were able to pay them a visit and wish them well moving forward," Sheriff Chitwood said. "They will be receiving life-saving awards for their quick actions in frantic, challenging circumstances."

Sheriff Chitwood posted a photo on social media of the deputies' reunion with the homeowners. The female victim is seen with a bandage on her foot; the incident report said her right leg was injured in the dog attack. 

Volusia County Animal Control removed the dead dog from the scene. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.