A NYCHA worker trying to collect rent from a delinquent Bronx tenant wound up in the hospital after A PAIR OF PIT BULLS mauled him and “gnawed” his face, the Daily News has learned.
Alphonsus Ojevwe, 47, had no idea two snarling dogs were inside apartment 5B at the Morris Houses on Washington Ave. when he and a colleague knocked at 11:20 a.m. Thursday, he told The News.
“The first one came and grabbed my thigh and I was screaming. Then the other one came. I was fighting and I fell. That’s when one went to my face and gnawed,” Ojevwe said from St. Barnabas Hospital Friday.
“I was screaming for help ... I was fighting with the two pit bulls, trying to protect myself. I was screaming, screaming, screaming, thinking, ‘I should have been dead by now. I should have been dead,’” he recalled.
Ojevwe, who finds out Wednesday if he needs reconstructive surgery, could barely speak through his massively swollen upper lip. Stitches held together the ugly gash across the entire right side of his bruised face.
NYCHA allows pets under 25 pounds -- but pit bulls were banned in 2010, a spokesman said.
“Policy violations that put people at risk are simply unacceptable,” said the spokesman, adding that the dogs have been removed and action is pending against the resident.
Ojevwe’s colleague, Asia Jiles, was able to avoid getting bitten on Thursday by running to the stairwell — but she tripped and fell on the stairs when one of the dogs ran over and lunged at her, Ojevwe said.
Ojevwe, who came to the U.S. from Nigeria in 1995, said he’s been working for NYCHA for less than a year. He and Jiles were sent to knock on the tenant’s door to collect $126 she still owed on her $220 monthly rent, he said.
The building manager often sends workers to deal with tardy tenants, Ojevwe said.
He was still a few feet down the hallway when Jiles knocked — and the marauding animals burst out and came right for him, he said.
“I had a clipboard in my hands, so I threw it … It didn’t help.”
The dogs’ owner tried to yank away the pit bull savaging his face, Ojevwe said.
“I was trying to push and beat it, but it was so big and it was dragging me,” the worker said.
The pit bull sank its teeth into his pants leg and pulled him down the hallway, he said.
“Finally I was able to push it because my pants ripped. I was able to escape and run downstairs,” he recalled.
The NYPD confirmed the attack and said building management suspects it may not have been an accident.