JOLIET, IL — A woman was viciously mauled and nearly killed by two pit bulls that attacked her in the backyard of her father’s west side home, police said.

A police officer likely saved the woman’s life by shooting one of the dogs and holding them off until more help arrived.

The woman went to her father’s Cumberland Drive home about 8 p.m. Sunday to check on the place because he was out of town. The pit bulls reportedly attacked her without provocation while she was straightening up the backyard.

Police were alerted to the shocking attack and a lone officer was the first to respond.

When he got there, a neighbor was screaming and pointing to the yard. As the officer approached, he saw the two dogs attacking the woman. She was also screaming, police said, and was covered in blood as one dog ripped at her head and the other bit her legs.

The officer shouted at the pit bulls and rushed in close to shoot the dog on the woman’s legs. Both dogs let go and the officer positioned himself between the wounded woman and the animals until more help could arrive.

It was not clear from police reports who carried the woman from the yard.

The woman was taken to Presence St. Joseph Medical Center. She said she thought she was going to die, according to police, and her injuries were considered to possibly be life-threatening.

The dog that was shot by the officer eventually died. The other pit bull was taken away by Joliet Township Animal Control and remains in that agency’s custody, police said.

The dogs had been kept at the home of the woman’s father but it was not clear who owned them, according to police.

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