The husband and another man were handcuffed and taken away to be questioned by detectives.
At 6:30 p.m., the husband called police and said he had come home from work and found his wife dead in the first-floor living room, Small said. The husband said his wife had been killed by their dogs, Small said.
The wife was pronounced dead in the rowhouse, in the 400 block of West Carey Street, at 6:44 p.m.
Animal-control officers removed five pit bulls from the house.
Small said that the crime scene was gruesome and that the house was "a mess," filthy, and reeking of dog urine.
Small said police had received preliminary information that the dogs had attacked neighbors in the past. He said "everyone on the block" would be questioned.
Gus Castro, 25, who lives across the street, said he was attacked Friday when the dogs got loose in the neighborhood.
Castro showed reporters numerous bite wounds on his legs, arms, and hands.
He said that the dogs were known to be vicious and that they also attacked an elderly woman nearby, at Fifth Street and Erie Avenue.
Castro said animal-control officers had removed the dogs. "About three or four days later, they gave them back," he said.
Contact staff writer Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.