CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A 71-year-old man was hospitalized after police say he was attacked by his neighbor's dogs while decorating his house for Christmas.
According to York Police, officers were called to the home along Oklahoma Street just before 11 a.m. Sunday in reference to the dog attack.
Investigators said the man was knocked down from behind by two dogs that bit him repeatedly.
When police arrived, they saw the dogs running in the man's yard and saw a female neighbor walking towards the officers. That's when, police said, the dogs charged at the woman, who then ran into her home to get away.
The dogs reportedly kept "striking her door in an attempt to get the lady," according to police. They then came towards the officer in an "aggressive manner."
The officer fired a shot, hitting one of the dogs before both animals ran off.
The 71-year-old man was found and the officer gave him first aid.
According to police, the man's left arm was severely mangled and he had to be taken to Piedmont Medical Center and later transported to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte "due to the severity of his injuries."
The dogs were found and taken into custody by York County Animal Control. The owners were issued citations for violation of leash law.
Buddy Owens, 71, was identified by family members as the man who was attacked. Owens is retired, but served in the U.S. Army and was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.
The owner of one of the dogs told WBTV that both are a mix between a boxer and a pit bull.
"There's a lot of trauma on both sides in this. I just want this to be settled as amicably as possible," said Robert Miles, who lives just two doors down.
Miles said the dogs aren't aggressive, and that he keeps them inside or in the fenced-in back yard. He isn't sure how the animals got out.
"I just want them to know from the bottom of my heart that I am very sorry this happened," Miles said.
Both of the dogs were seized by animal control officers. The dog who was shot was expected to undergo surgery for injuries.
Miles wondered if the dogs were trying to play with Owens' dog, but family members said the animal was inside.
Owens' front yard resembles the North Pole every year. Owens shares a home with his significant other of more than 15 years. She loves Christmas, and family members said Owens puts up the decorations for her and the neighborhood each year.
"He organizes all that and puts it up himself - no help," said Beverly Watkins, a friend and caregiver for Owens' significant other.
Watkins was one of the first people Owens called after he was attacked. For years, Watkins said she has watched her friend put smiles on the faces of everyone who sees his holiday spirit.
"Cars stop. I've witnessed it. They stop and the kids hang out. I mean because everybody in the York area knows this is the house," Watkins said.
Watkins has seen Owens' injuries. She said there is a lot of damage to his left arm. He is in pain, but is stable, family members said.
"That whole arm is like shredded through. It tore his muscles," Watkins said.
Miles and the second dog's owner received a citation for a leash violation.