MARGATE, FLA. (WSVN) – A South Florida man is sharing his story days after, he said, his newly adopted dog went on the attack, injuring him and killing his elderly mother.
Joseph Varanese struggled to hold back tears while discussing the death of his 84-year-old mother, Carolyn Varanese, at their home in the area of Southwest First Street and 63rd Avenue in Margate, Thursday night.
“This is not normal. She shouldn’t have died. My mom shouldn’t have lost her life because of this stupid freaking animal,” he said.
Varanese showed 7News punctures to his arm that he suffered during last Friday night’s mauling,
“These are healing now, but this is like — these are the worst. He dug into my muscle,” he said.
Varanese said he had recently adopted Smokey, a 5-year-old pit bull mix, and the animal had only been in their home for about three weeks.
“That freaking dog, he just blew up, man. He bit her in the ankle,” he said.
Before Friday, Varanese said, Smokey didn’t show any signs of aggression, but as he was helping his elderly mother to the bathroom, the canine snapped.
“The dog started freaking out. I mean, it was like a scene, a wild animal on the National Geographic Channel, where they’re ripping it,” he said. “I just couldn’t see or stand watching it, so I tried everything.”
Varanese said his mother had overcome a battle with cancer, was wheelchair bound and on dialysis.
The animal attack was just too much for Carolyn’s frail body. She was pronounced dead inside their home.
Her son, meanwhile, spent the night at the hospital.
“I got whiplash. I might have shoulder damage. I don’t know,” he said.
Now Varanese has been left heartbroken and bruised.
He described his mother as a strong-willed and generous person who he had been taking care of for the past 16 years.
“I would never, ever harm my mom. We had a beautiful relationship,” he said.
As he picks up the pieces, Varanese said the guilt is almost too much to bear.
The grieving son said he has siblings near Orlando, as well as several nieces and nephews, he’s still not sure what’s next in terms of planning funeral arrangements due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve got to take care of all this stuff. This is hard. It’s very hard,” he said. “Nobody needs to go through stuff like this. Nobody.”
Smokey was turned over to Broward County Animal Services.
On Friday morning, officials confirmed at the directive of Margate Animal Control, the dog was humanely euthanized.
Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.