HOUSTON -- As animal control officers rounded up a pack of wild dogs wandering through an east Houston neighborhood, a boy attacked and mauled in a city park said he was afraid the feral canines would eat him alive.
Carlos Chavarria, 13, was attacked in Pleasanton Manor Park Thursday by a group of stray dogs chasing after a female dog that was in heat, animal control officers said. He suffered serious bite wounds to an arm and both of his legs.
“I was screaming because no one was helping to get the dogs off,” Chavarria said. “A man in a white van arrived and he drove the van toward the dogs and they stopped biting me.”
Leaning on crutches outside his home the day after the attack, Chavarria said he believes the stranger saved his life.
“Yes, he was like an angel that saved me from the dogs,” he said. “Because those dogs … I wouldn’t be alive. They would’ve eaten me.”
Animal control officers returned to the park in the Pleasantville area of east Houston Friday to round up the wild dogs. Visitors to the park said aggressive strays have been a common sight, driving families with children to flee the playground.
“One time I was actually right around here, over by that backstop over there, and a pit bull chased me all the way over here, chased me up this slide over here,” said Joey Garcia, a worker at a nearby business who sometimes eats lunch in the park. “And I actually ran across and I had to hide up on the top of the bars over here and run to my truck over here.”
Armed with tranquilizer guns, officers caught seven of the eight animals believed to have been involved in the attack.
“If we go out to a neighborhood and there is a female in heat, we try and capture that one first,” explained Jarrod Mears, an animal control officer. “And we use her as bait to capture the rest of the dogs.”
The trick lured some of the male dogs back to the park, but officers armed with dart-tipped guns had to chase many of them through neighboring streets.
The dogs were taken to the city’s animal shelter for observation to insure none of them is infected with rabies.
“Good,” Chavarria said, after identifying the captured dogs for animal control officers. “Because it won’t happen to other children, what happened to me.”