Two pit bull dogs ripped off a man's left hand and badly mauled his right arm before other people were able to beat the dogs away.

"I couldn't believe I wasn't dead," James Chapple said from his hospital bed. "I'm going to church every day when I get out of here and talk to the man upstairs."

Chapple, 59, had just gotten off a bus and was walking home on Feb. 9 when the dogs ran out from an auto repair business, knocked him down and started biting.

In a bedside interview Wednesday, he said he yelled for help and one pedestrian grabbed a stick to hit the dogs but was unable to get them to stop.

"I was kicking and screaming at them to let me go, but they kept dragging me — they had my hand and wouldn't let go," Chapple said.

He passed out and didn't wake up until he was in an ambulance. Doctors had to amputate his lower left arm, but they saved his right arm. Chapple also suffered bites on his legs and one ear.

Memphis Animal Services captured the dogs and will euthanize them, authorities said.

Charles Lawson, who co-owns the business, said the dogs were guarding the shop and belong to his partner. He said he didn't know how the dogs got out, but declined to comment further.