Dog owner recounts attack that killed his mom and sent him to hospital

MARGATE, Fla. – Overwhelmed by grief and guilt, Joe Varanese is still struggling to figure out why the rescue dog he adopted three weeks ago suddenly snapped.

Smokey, a 5-year-old American Bulldog attacked Varanese and mauled to death his 84-year old mother, Carolyn Varanese, inside their Margate home Friday night.

“It happened on my watch. It was something I brought into the house,” Varanese said Wednesday in an exclusive — and emotional — interview with Local 10 News.

Varanese, 57, was helping his wheelchair-bound mom from the bathroom when the pet charged.

“We were just trying to go to the bathroom and he just went berserk,” Varanese recalled.

“I flipped the dog over, slammed him on the ground — that didn’t help, he came back stronger. I hit him with the leg of the wheelchair — it didn’t even faze him,” Varanese said.

Varanese said during the effort to fight off the dog, his socks lost traction in a pool of blood.

“I fell down on the floor, but I did get up and that’s when I started beating that dog to no avail,” he said.

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