Updated 01/17/12 – 4:54 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The 62-year-old jogger who was attacked by pit bulls in Rainbow Beach Park two weeks ago said Tuesday that he remembers everything that happened that morning, when he kept telling himself to survive.
As CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, Joseph Finley spoke out for the first time about the attack, which left him severely injured.
The attack cost Finley much of his left leg, but he realizes it could have cost him his life. He said he fought the dogs for 20 to 25 minutes and felt certain he wouldn’t live to tell his story.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports
“The way they attacked me, these were not just regular dogs, no. These dogs attacked in the way of dogs that have been trained to kill,” Finley said.
It happened while Finley was running in Rainbow Beach Park on the morning of Jan. 2.
After the two pit bulls started attacking, Finley tried to stay on his feet.
“I knew at that point that if I fell down, at any point, it was going to be disastrous,” Finley said.
But the dogs were too strong and Finley went down, with each dog attacking opposite sides of his body.
“Those dogs are coming at me consistent, constantly; yanking and biting and tearing and pulling and gnawing at my body, like it was … like I was a hamburger,” Finley said.
He did his best to fight the dogs off and protect his head and neck, using his hand weights to strike the dogs.
Finley said he kept repeating the same thing over and over to himself.
“Survive. Survive. Joseph, you have to survive,” Finley said. “They had a method to their madness. They knew what they were doing and they did it well and their main objective was to make sure that I was their dinner.”
Finley said he kept calling out for help, hoping someone would hear him. He thought no one did until he saw police lights.
“I heard somebody say ‘Get away from him, dog! Get away from him!” Finley said. “I heard them say ‘We’ve got to shoot these dogs, they’re not going to let him go.’”
What he heard next ended the attack.
“I heard four, five shots. The first two shots, I felt the tug on this leg stop. The next two shots, I felt the tugging on this arm stop and at that point, I felt myself fading,” Finley said.
After police shot and killed the pit bulls, Finley was rushed to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County.
“They did a tremendous job. They really did, but the end result is, I lost my foot. They bit it off,” Finley said.
Now that he has survived, Finley said his next fight will be to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to someone else.
“I think there should be much more stricter rules for things like this and the owners to be thoroughly, 100% held accountable in every way,” Finley said. “It’s not right at all that you can’t walk outside without the fear of being attacked by wild or vicious animals of this nature.”
Finley said he hopes to one day walk and possibly even run again. His doctors said, given his track record thus far, they think if anyone can do it, it’s him.
Doctors said the plan going forward is for Finley to go to an inpatient rehabilitation center and they said they are optimistic about his chances of doing whatever he wants to do.