Elderly Margate woman killed, son injured in pit bull mix attack

MARGATE, FLA. (WSVN) - An 84-year-old woman was killed and her son was taken to the hospital with serious injuries after, a family friend said, they were attacked by their pit bull mix inside their Margate home.

According to Margate Police, the incident occurred at a home along Southwest 63rd Avenue and First Street, near State Road 7, just after 9:40 p.m., Friday.

Carolyn Varanese was pronounced dead at the scene, and her son, identified as 57-year-old Joseph Varanese, was taken to Northwest Medical Center.

Joseph has since been released.

“He’s banged up pretty good … the dog messed him up pretty good,” said the family friend, who identified himself as Jimmy.

Jimmy described what Joseph told him about the mauling.

“He’s like, ‘Oh, man, he went for her ankles, she dropped to the floor, and he went for her throat,” he said.

Jimmy said he picked up Joseph from the hospital at around 12:30 a.m.

“I mean, his eye is all messed up, his nose, up around here, his whole arm is all messed up,” he said.

Jimmy confirmed the dog is a pit bull mix and, according to the owner, the attack came out of nowhere.

“Apparently, his mom was there for five days with the dog and had no problem,” he said.

But for some reason, Jimmy said, the canine ended up attacing the elderly woman, and her son did everything he could to protect her, even using his mother’s wheelchair to strike the animal.

“He started beating the dog with the wheelchair. He was trying to save his mom, and the dog just kept going for her jugular,” he said.

The dog is in the custody of Broward County Animal Control. They have not responded to 7News’ calls for comment.

The cause of the attack remains under investigation.

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