Family speaks out after vicious dog attack in Hernando County

The victim of last week’s dog attack in Spring Hill has been flown to a second hospital for specialized treatment but remains in critical condition, deputies say. Meanwhile, investigators believe they have sorted out the dogs responsible for the attack – and their owners.

"They had pinned it down to seven minutes a non-stop attack from these four big dogs. She’s under 100 pounds; she’s tiny, she’s petite," Christina Dinis said of her mother, the victim. 

According to Hernando deputies, it was just after noon when the woman, who has yet to be officially identified, was in the backyard of her Upton Street home with her own dog when dogs from a nearby home along Mayflower Road managed to get outside and attack her in what deputies later called “a pack mentality act of aggression.”

Neighbors tried to intervene but were unable to turn the pack away. It wasn’t until firefighters arrived a few minutes later that the dogs were chased off.

"If it wasn’t for the ones who stepped in to save her life, every bite they took was another bite from her," said Dinis. 

Christina Dinis said the victim is her 64-year-old mother, Debra Beaulieu. She said Beaulieu moved to Hernando County in June to be with her family and enjoy retirement. Eight months later, her mother clings to life. 

"She has staples all over her scalp, from it being torn from her head. Her arms, there’s not a spot on her body that they missed. They got her head to toe," she said. 

Deputies say a pack of dogs escaped from the home behind Debra's, as she went to protect and pick up her dog, a Chihuahua named Sassy, the pack of dogs attacked. 

"Anybody that has large-breed dogs, you need to take the proper precautions and it wasn’t done," said Dinis. 

Animal enforcement officers initially removed five large dogs, including pit bulls and bullmastiffs. One of them, a terrier mix, was cleared after witnesses confirmed it was not involved.

The four remaining dogs belonged to three people who lived in the Mayflower Road home, deputies say. All four dogs were surrendered by their owners to Animal Services, with euthanasia forms completed.

The sheriff’s office did not name the dogs’ owners, but said all three received civil citations for having unlicensed, unvaccinated and unrestrained animals.

All four have a court hearing scheduled for May, during which a judge could impose fines.

Before this attack, Debra's daughter said she planned to put up a fence. She tells FOX 13 the same dogs that attacked had recently pinned down her mom's dog. 
"They need to be held responsible. 100 percent. Words can’t explain how it feel," Dinis insisted. 

Dinis knows her mother is only alive because of the neighbors who stepped in to help. 

"It could have killed her. They took those bites rescuing her, and I want to thank them so much," she added. 

Animal Services said they have completed forms of euthanasia for the dogs.