The brave Lakeland Electric meter reader who was mauled by two pit bulls on Monday told reporters she “thought she was going to die.”
Linda Dionne went to a home in Lakeland to turn the power off due to non-payment, something she’s done countless time in her 22 years at the utility.
She said when she arrived, the gate at the end of the driveway was wide open, and two dogs laid in the driveway.
“I petted her, she seemed fine, and that led me to believe that it would be ok,” she said.
But it was not OK.
Moments later, she said the dogs attacked, tossing her around like a rag doll.
Dionne said she followed her training, and kept feeding the dogs any objects she could find, but her time was running out.
“I’ve never been so scared in my whole life,” she said. “I really thought the dogs were going to kill me. I really did.”
For the first time in all her years, Dionne pressed an emergency button on her radio, notifying colleagues of a problem.
Master Deputy Matthew Dennis was first to arrive.
“I don’t believe she would be sitting her today the way those dogs were mauling her,” he said.
Dennis shot and killed one of the dogs after it charged after him
Due to a previous attack, the state already deemed that same animal a “dangerous dog”, meaning by law, the owner cannot let it roam free.
Deputies arrested Matthew Overton for doing just that.
“Had the gate been closed, I would have never been in that yard,” Dionne insisted.
Despite more than a dozen deep wounds on both arms and legs, she is already counting down the days when she can return to work.
“Hopefully soon,” she said.
The second dog in the attack was not injured, however, it may now be deemed a dangerous dog as well.