A young woman is fighting for her life in hospital after being bitten more than 100 times while trying to protect her young nephew during a vicious dog mauling.

Just after 1 p.m. on Wednesday, RCMP responded to a call to a field in the 9200-block of Williams Road in Richmond, B.C., next to James Whiteside Elementary. There they found a 21-year-old woman on the ground, covered in blood, and trying to fight off a large Rottweiler cross that weighed more than 80 pounds.

A Mountie tried to distract the dog so another officer could rescue the woman, but it was only momentarily distracted and returned to re-attack the woman and one of the officers.

An officer fired a service pistol at the dog, which then fled and was later captured uninjured. It remains in the custody of the Richmond Animal Protection Society until the city decides what to do next. Officials could deem it fit to euthanize the dog.

The woman was rushed to hospital with more than 100 bites to her body, a fractured arm, and a detached bicep. She underwent surgery and is in critical condition.

Police say the woman was trying to stop the dog from attacking her three-year-old nephew, the son of her twin sister. Her sister also sustained serious injuries while trying to defend her son, including multiple lacerations to her body.

The three-year old was fortunately unharmed.

Ken Brodie. 73, lives next to the field where the attack occurred. Brodie was in his backyard when he heard screaming, so he climbed over the fence to see what was going on.

“[The woman] was lying down. The dog kept coming at her like that. Ripping, ripping, ripping,” he said. “I don’t know what triggered this. It just went after her. Never let up.”

Brodie said he kicked the dog, and tried to haul it off the woman. Then the animal went after him, biting his hand.

“It was bleeding so bad I couldn’t stay,” he said. “I was hoping I could keep my fingers. That’s the first thing I thought of.”

The Good Samaritan was taken to the hospital and received numerous stiches. Brodie, who loves animals and is a dog owner, says it was shocking to see an attack of this nature. 

“I’ve never seen anything like this before. Something snapped in the dog’s mind and that was it,” he said. “It was as bit of a shock to see something like that. No doubt.”

Officers at the scene were also disturbed by the attack.

“Their drive to protect the boy was incredibly heroic,” Cpl. Dennis Hwang said in a statement. “Our officers commented that it was a horrifying sight to bear witness to. We see and love dogs as faithful companions and now they were witnessing a scene from their worst nightmare.”

Police say the dog is owned by the boyfriend of one of the sisters.

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Jon Woodward