HOUSTON – A 67-year-old man is in critical condition after deputies said he was mauled by two loose pit bulls in northwest Harris County Thursday.
Harris County Precinct 4 deputies said it happened in the 4300 block of Queens Retreat Drive around 6:30 a.m. when a man was on an early morning walk. The dogs crossed the street to approach the man as he tried to back away.
According to authorities, Life Flight landed in a church parking lot located at 13222 Bammel N. Houston and transported the victim to a local hospital.
Heavy police presence in the 4300 block of Queens Retreat Drive in reference to an elderly male who was attacked by two loose dogs.— Mark Herman, Harris County Constable Precinct 4 (@Pct4Constable) August 26, 2021
Life flight has landed at 13222 Bammel N Huston in the church parking lot and will be transporting the victim to a local hospital. pic.twitter.com/pWxIqWhMyu
KPRC 2 has surveillance video showing the attack, which was described as “horrific” by deputies.
The attack happened in Elmer Lavigne’s front yard. The retired sheriff’s deputy ran out to help the victim and told KPRC 2 he shot one of the dogs. A deputy shot the other dog after it bit an animal control officer twice as she was trying to detain the animals.
Both canines are reportedly still alive.
“When I came out, the dogs turned around and went to attack us. I shot him through the shoulder and it didn’t even stop him,” Lavigne said.
“I heard somebody saying, ‘Help, help, help.’ That’s when I said, ‘Something ain’t right,’” said Darrel Berryman, a neighbor who lives across the street from the victim’s home.
In the video, Berryman can be seen darting across the lawn.
“I ran over here and saw two pit bulls. The man couldn’t move,” Berryman said. “They had him by his face... I told my granddaughter to call 911.”
“It was pretty gruesome,” said Daniel Garza with Precinct 4. “He did lose quite a bit of blood. That was the main concern. I’ve been doing this a long time and this type of attack is not something you see on a normal basis.”
Deputies have not identified the victim but said the man, likely in his 40′s or 50′s, suffered injuries to his upper body, lower body, face and neck. Paramedics had to give him two units of blood on the scene.
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Zach Dunlap, the Critical Care Manager for Cypress Creek EMS, said a quick-acting team of heroes responded to the attack.
“I’ve had a lot of dog bites and maulings, but this is up there with some of the worst I’ve ever seen,” Dunlap said.
According to Dunlap, the victim was in grave danger.
“The amount of blood loss that he had, everything had to go perfect,” Dunlap said.
Dunlap and his team carried units of blood product with them, something he said is not typical of EMS. Most people in need of blood treatment must wait until they get to a hospital. Dunlap also said the victim was fortunate that Houston has a Level 1 trauma center nearby at Memorial Hermann.
“He received two units of blood which is very unique to receive that out of the hospital. We got his blood pressure up. We were able to intubate him,” Dunlap said. “Life Flight was able to take him down to the medical center and he’s been in surgery throughout today... Had this happened in other parts of the country where he did not have blood or he did not have rapid access to a Level 1 trauma center, the outcome would have been probably worse.”
The victim has been in surgery all day Thursday, according to Dunlap.
“It’s in the trauma surgeon’s hands to do good work now. Everybody has done their job,” Dunlap said.
Neighbors said they are praying the man will be OK.
Deputies told KPRC 2 they didn’t have a record of calls about the animals, but Berryman claims the dogs have been violent before.
“I called police three times to call about those pit bulls. They broke in my yard and killed my dogs,” Berryman said.
Animal control has possession of the dogs. They will be quarantined for 10 days. Deputies took the owner of the animals into custody for questioning and said the owner may receive two “attack by dog” charges: one for the 67-year-old man and another for the animal control worker who was bitten. The charge is a third-degree felony.