News of a deadly dog attack involving a local child hit home for Marven Lucero.
A 4-year-old girl was killed Wednesday night while playing in her front yard in Tallassee.
The tragedy brought back bad memories for Lucero. He was walking his dog Nino in his Montgomery neighborhood two years ago when they were mauled by two pit pulls.
The horrific ordeal left them both with injuries- puncture wounds and gashes that required multiple stitches and staples. A portion of Lucero's cheek was torn off in the attack.
Some of the wounds have since healed, others have not.
"Now he's scared to go out by himself," Lucero's wife told WSFA.
Montgomery County Humane Officer Scott Hill has investigated dog attacks involving victims of all ages.
"If you're in a situation when there's two dogs on you, it's really tough to defend yourself," Hill said.
If you walk your dog or like to exercise outside, Hill recommends carrying mace or a stick, umbrella or cane, like Marven Lucero does now to protect himself from loose or stray dogs.
"Don't ever turn your back on a dog and never run from a dog. If you've encountered a dog and the dog seems aggressive, just back away slowly. The minute you start running and turn your back, they look at you as prey. And if you are attacked and a dog's got you in its mouth, you need to get on the ground in the fetal position and cover your head and ears as best you can," Hill said.
Marven Lucero and Nino survived their attack but Lucero and his wife know it could have turned out differently had passersby not stepped in to help. They wish some dog owners would be more responsible about their pets. The Lucero's thoughts are with the family of the young victim in Tallassee.
"I feel so sorry we feel sympathy for the little girl and her family and we remember her in our prayers," TK Lucero told WSFA. She says she doesn't let her husband out of her sight when he walks their dog.
Hill urges people to educate themselves on the leash laws in the city and county where they live and parents to regularly discuss basic animal safety rules with their children.
When it comes to kids, he says dogs can sometimes misidentify them as an animal and perceive them as a threat.
"Parents definitely need to teach their kids how to deal with animals," Hill said. "If a child is playing in their yard and a strange dog comes up, don't approach that dog. They need to go inside and call animal control or your local law enforcement."
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