• The incident took place Monday
  • The victim is in hospital in 'critical condition'
  • Witnesses say the dog belonged to the woman

A 50-year-old woman's hand had to be partially amputated after a dog attack in Katy, according to authorities. She is said to be in critical condition.

The Cy-Fair Fire Department responded to reports of a dog mauling in the 20900 block of Westgreen Springs Drive on Monday around 12:45 p.m. The victim was treated by EMS at the scene and had to be taken to a hospital using a LifeFlight, officials said.

The woman was bitten multiple times by the dog in her backyard, reported KPRC-TV. Her hand was severely injured in the attack and had to be partially amputated.

According to the report, multiple witnesses said that the woman was the owner of the dog. Deputies from Harris County Sherriff’s office are investigating what instigated the attack.

Dog attacks on the owners are not uncommon. Recently, two Rottweilers mauled a 10-month-old baby to death after the infant’s father stepped outside the house to fix sprinklers and heard a commotion inside while talking to a neighbor. Authorities later found the toddler unresponsive and were unable to revive the child.

Sean Wensley, Senior Veterinary Surgeon at the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) told BBC that in many cases, “the motivation for lots of dog bites is fear.” Wensley said that dogs could become aggressive when they feel threatened.

"... Others are territorial - if they're guarding something that they highly value, or defending their favorite resting place, their bed... Or if they've learned to defend, say, a dog bowl - that can result in aggression," Wensley added.

A dog can also attack if it is in pain. "We're a very verbal species, so when we're not feeling comfortable, we say something," according to dog behaviorist and trainer Carolyn Menteith. "Our dogs only have body language cues to do that with."

According to a study, over 4 million people in the U.S. are attacked by dogs each year. At least 1 in 5 dog attacks require medical assistance. To avoid aggression, American Veterinary Medical Association recommends owners to help their dogs socialize more, pay attention to their body language, carefully train them, choose the right breed, neuter and avoid a risky situation where the dog behaves territorially.

dogs attack girl
In this representational image, Foxhounds are seen in their kennels at the Festival of Hunting in Peterborough, England, July 19, 2017. Getty Images/Leon Neal