Azle, 7, was almost mauled to death by the neighbor’s dog
AZLE, TX – A 7-year-old Azle boy returned to school this week after being mauled by a neighbour’s dog.
The dog’s owner is now in jail, charged with a third degree felony for failing to properly secure his dog. The dog, now euthanized, was described by authorities as a brown and black brindle boxer/bull mastiff mixed breed.
“He was dragging it, shaking it,” neighbor Lorena Parker said.
Parker was at home when she heard her little dogs fussing. When she looked outside, that’s where she saw Conner being attacked.
“As I walked around my house I could see a child on the floor, the dog was shaking him like a chew toy. That’s when I called 911,” she said. “He had Connor, he was taking him across the ditch to his yard.”
She hung up with 911 so she could get the dogs away from Conner.
“The dog let go of Connor and came towards me. That’s when I realized I didn’t have a stick,” Parker said.
Parker came back with a stick.
“Every time I took the dog out he would turn around and go straight back to Connor because he was crying. It was awful,” Parker said.
Eventually, the dog finally retreated to his yard.
“There was no thought, just to do, take the dog away from him,” Parker said.
When Conner’s mother, Cassandra Ware, heard the screams, she went outside to find her son safe with Parker.
“I told him to hold still, he was wearing a white t-shirt and he was drenched in blood,” Ware said. “He kept asking me if I was there. He said, ‘Mom, the dog used me as a chew toy, it hurts, it hurts.'”
Later in the ambulance, she saw how bad her injuries were.
“When they put him in the ambulance, I saw the rest of his face. When I leaned over to tell him he would be fine, I saw his arms,” Ware said.
It took plastic surgeons at Cook Children’s Medical Center more than three hours to perform reconstructive surgery. The dog had ripped Connor’s mouth open and he had to have stitches inside and out.
Ware thinks Parker is the reason his son is alive.
“I believe I owe her my life. She saved my son. The surgeon said if she was a minute late, my son would be dead,” Ware said.
When asked how scary it was, Conner rated it “1,000”.
Now he is back to being a typical 7-year-old boy.
“Play with Legos and watch on my mom’s phone,” he said.
The dog’s owner, Patti Jean Bell-Neveling, 49, has been charged with a third degree felony, attack by a dog causing grievous bodily harm. Neighbors hope Neveling will be banned from owning dogs in the future.
The Parker County Sheriff says Parker’s actions were heroic.
“I don’t feel like a hero, I feel like a person who did what I should have done,” Parker said.
“Proud of the scars I have, I hope I teach him to be proud of his scars too, so he knows he’s a survivor and he survived the worst day of his life and that it better be the worst day. It better not have every day worse than that,” Ware said.
The Parker County Animal Control Division has set up a fundraiser to help with Conner’s medical bills: Plain Capital Bank (817) 598-5400, Conner Lander’s Benefit Account.
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