A 70-year-old woman was fatally mauled at her Albertson home Wednesday by a pit bull that then turned on a responding Nassau police officer who fatally shot the animal, according to Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp

A 70-year-old woman was fatally mauled Wednesday afternoon at her Albertson home by a pit bull that then turned on a responding Nassau police officer who fatally shot the animal, Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.

The woman's name was not immediately released.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the scene on Terrace Court, Ryder said the pit bull had been owned by the woman's stepson who was killed in a motorcycle crash "a little over a couple of weeks back." 

The stepson's name, age and where he died were not immediately available.

Earlier Wednesday, 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 victim's husband had walked into the backyard of the home Wednesday afternoon to find his wife “being dragged through the yard” by the pit bull.

The husband had been working, Ryder said, but happened to come home at the time of the attack.

After he 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. 

Nassau police medics pronounced the woman dead at the scene, Ryder said. Police had not previously been called to the home about the dog and it was unknown what led the pit bull to turn on the woman, he said.

The time of the attack also remained unclear, Ryder said, adding that the victim had “a lot of mutilation on the body and the arm, the face, the legs.”

At the scene Wednesday night on Terrace Court near I.U. Willets Road, police cars remained stationed in front of the house. Other patrol vehicles blocked Terrace Court to traffic.

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 victim's stepson walking the dog.

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

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