An 84-year-old artist in New Mexico has lost one arm after two dogs attacked her in her own yard.
According to NBC affiliate KTSM, Las Cruces resident Penny Duncklee encountered the two dogs on Wednesday, March 16.
The two dogs first attacked a neighbor before turning their attention on Duncklee, KTSM said. It's not clear who the dogs belong to or where they are now. Another neighbor intervened, rescuing Duncklee.
The attack left the artist with extensive damage to both arms. Duncklee was brought to a local hospital, where her right arm was amputated below the elbow. She also underwent additional surgery to her left hand to regain some motion. She is in stable condition.
TODAY reached out to the Las Cruces Police Department for comment but did not hear back at the time this story was published. The department told KTSM that they would release information about the attack in the coming days.
The community has rallied around Duncklee.
The Doña Ana Arts Council, a local non-profit that helps support the arts in southern New Mexico, shared a touching message on Facebook dedicated to Duncklee, writing in part, “One of our local artists, Penny Duncklee, likes to photograph our sunrises and sunsets. Wednesday evening, she was setting out to do that so that she could share a shot with one of the television stations. She never got that opportunity.”
“As she was getting into her car, she was attacked by two dogs and probably only survived because a neighbor heard her screams,” the post continued. “I do not know the man’s name yet, but he deserves our heartfelt thanks!”
The post summarized Duncklee's condition, and said that her "spirits are good" as she recovers.
"I know she is very much in the thoughts of our arts community, and we will be helping her in all the ways we can," the organization wrote.
Rick Bernal, a neighbor of Duncklee, also spoke of her kindness within the community. Bernal said that he was present in the aftermath of the attack.
“Penny’s a great neighbor and she just kind of just takes care of the whole neighborhood she watches over everything," Bernal said. "She’ll tell you somebody came over and knocked on your door, she’s just a great person.”