Nassau police Thursday identified a 70-year-old woman fatally mauled Wednesday afternoon at her Albertson home by a pit bull as Marina Verriest.
The pit bull, shot and killed as it turned toward a Nassau police officer who had responded to the home on Terrace Court, had been owned by Verriest's stepson who was killed in a motorcycle crash “a little over a couple of weeks back,” said Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder Wednesday.
The stepson’s name, age and where he died have not been released.
Officers responded after a 911 caller, identified only as “a man,” said “an animal” had attacked his wife. Police said the call was received at 1:18 p.m.
Ryder said the husband of the woman identified Thursday as Verriest had walked into the backyard of the home Wednesday afternoon to find his wife “being dragged through the yard” by the pit bull.
After the husband called 911, a Nassau police officer arrived at the home. The 7-year-old pit bull turned on the officer, who then fatally shot the dog, Ryder said. Police have not identified the husband. Calls to the home Thursday seeking comment were not returned.
Nassau police medics pronounced Verriest dead at the scene. Police had not previously been called to the home about the dog and it remained unclear Thursday what led the pit bull to attack.
At a news conference Wednesday outside the home, Ryder said she had “a lot of mutilation on the body and the arm, the face, the legs.”
On Terrace Court near I.U. Willets Road, Wednesday night, neighbors stood and watched as investigators continued to comb the area for additional clues to help explain the attack.
Several neighbors declined to comment. One neighbor, who declined to give his name, said he would only see the stepson walking the dog.
Police did not immediately provide an update Thursday on their investigation.
Gary Rogers, president of the Nassau SPCA, said fatal pit bill attacks on Long Island are rare.
The only other known fatal dog attack in the county was in November 2015 when 9-year-old Amiyah Dunston was mauled by a pit bull while playing with friends in the backyard of an Elmont house.
A search of Newsday archives dating to the 1940s found no similar deaths.
“There could be a lot of different issues that are going on but fatal dog attacks are unusual,” Rogers said.
With Robert Brodsky