GRAPHIC: Woman survives dog attack but will need to relearn how to use arms, hands

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHAM/CNN) - A New York woman is recovering after she was viciously mauled by two dogs. She says she thought she was going to die, but survival instinct, a fire extinguisher and a few good Samaritans helped save her.

Tracey Van Houte was standing on the porch of her friend’s Rochester, N.Y., home Tuesday night when the friend opened the door and two dogs who lived at the home came outside and attacked.

Van Houte says she climbed onto the porch railing to avoid the dogs, but it didn’t work.

“I was hanging onto a corner post, and I was screaming, ‘Help me. Get them off me,’" she said. “They were just ripping at me, just sinking their teeth in and... trying to pull me down.”

A crowd gathered, but Van Houte says few tried to help.

“I couldn’t breathe. I said, ‘Please help me. I’m going to die. I know they’re going to kill me,’" she said.

Police say two men who did help suffered bite wounds. One of those men, Ernest Casserly, stepped in with a fire extinguisher. He sprayed the dogs then used the empty tank to hit the most aggressive of them.

A woman then seemingly appeared out of nowhere to help, according to Van Houte.

"She picked me up off the ground because the extinguisher wasn’t working. She said, ‘Don’t worry, baby. I’m not going to leave you, even if they attack me,’” Van Houte said.

The woman got Van Houte to the back of a pickup truck, and they drove off. Van Houte says at least one dog followed, trying to jump into the truck bed.

Van Houte is now in the hospital, recovering from her injuries. She is covered in dozens of puncture wounds, many of them requiring stitches. Her leg and arm were crushed between the jaws of the attacking dogs.

“My right arm is crushed. They scalped me in the back, literally ripped the hair off my skull. I could feel it tearing,” she said.

Van Houte will need therapy to learn to use both arms and hands again. She says she wants to meet the woman who ran in to save her.

“She's an angel. I would be dead if it wasn't for her," she said.

Rochester Police are investigating. They say one of the dogs was run over in the commotion and suffered “life-threatening” injuries. Police would not confirm whether that dog died. The second dog ran away.

It’s unclear what breed of dogs were involved or whether charges will be filed.

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