Eva Simons, 64, was attacked by three dogs identified as “pit bull mix canines” Saturday near Lake Hope State Park while riding a mountain bike on Shea Road.
According to the Vinton County Sheriff’s Office, two people driving by saw the attack and shielded Simons with their car, getting the dogs to run away.
Simons’ injuries were so severe that she had to have one of her legs partially amputated.
Recovering in a Columbus hospital, Simons was in good spirits and acknowledged the situation could have been a lot worse. She’s now preparing for a long road ahead with therapy and adjusting to a new normal.
On Wednesday, Simons recounted the incident, saying that after getting a flat tire, she decided to walk the bike the four miles back to her car. With about a mile and a half left, she encountered the three dogs, and with no one around and no cell service, she was vulnerable.
Simons said she tried using the bike as a shield and later a weapon, but it wasn’t enough. The dogs began biting her legs, even dragging her a distance toward a field.
That is when the people drove up, scared off the dogs, and were able to drive Simons to a nearby hospital. If it wasn’t for them, Simons said, her story would’ve had a much different ending.
“Right then, I knew what was happening to my legs and I knew I’d either die or I lose a leg, one way or another, but I was just fighting not to die,” she said. “And that’s when the help arrived and I’m just eternally grateful for the people who stopped and saved me.”
That was a sentiment echoed by Vinton County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Aaron Ervin.
“I’m just grateful for the passersby that stopped by and gave her aid, got her to the hospital,” he said. “Shielded her from the canines. If it hadn’t been for them, it could’ve been worse.”
According to the incident report, one of the people who helped Simons fired two shots to help her, but those rounds did not make contact.
All three dogs in the attack have been put down, two being put down at the scene due to aggressive behavior, according to the sheriff’s office report. Their owner, who was not at home at the time of the incident, is expected to be charged.
Simons said she plans to work through her therapy and heal and has plans to get back on her bike.