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Pit bull terriers: Ban on breed fails to prevent mauling in Del City

By Jesse Olivarez
Staff Writer


DEL CITY - A neighbor jumped a fence and rescued a 5-year-old boy Friday from a pack of pit bull terriers.

The attack occurred about 1:40 p.m. at 3021 SE 18, Del City police Capt. Jody Suit said.
The boy was playing in his back yard when four pit bull terriers attacked him, Suit said. Neighbor Dino Cerda, 57, jumped the fence and used a stick to scatter the dogs so he could scoop up the boy. He kept them at bay with a
shovel until police arrived, he said.

"The dogs looked like they were trying to eat him," Cerda said. "They were chewing on him - gnawing on him. I figured he was dead because he was just laying there."

The boy, Xavier Gomez, 5, was taken to OU Medical Center, where he was in fair condition Friday. Family members said they were told he will need plastic surgery but should recover.

A few minutes before the attack, Cerda said, he was working in his back yard and saw the dogs roaming. He said they looked menacing.

Not long after, he heard a woman scream, "They've got him. The dogs got him."
He downplayed his role.

"I'm no hero," he said. "I just did what I had to do."

The boy was rushed to the hospital with injuries to his arms, hands, neck and head, police said.

Xavier's grandfather, John Martinez, 56, said he was ill and went to the emergency room Thursday night and didn't return home until 5 a.m. Friday. Martinez said the boy's mother stayed up with him all night. He said the mother was taking a nap inside Friday afternoon when Xavier unlocked the door and went outside.

"This is normally a really quiet neighborhood," Martinez said. "Nothing like this ever happens here."

Three of the dogs were captured by animal control officers shortly after the attack. The dogs were taken to the Oklahoma City animal shelter, where they will be euthanized and checked for rabies.

A fourth dog was later spotted by a police officer and was shot dead when it charged the officer, Suit said.

Suit said it has not been determined who owns the dogs, but witnesses said they had not seen them in the area. It is illegal to possess pit bull terriers in Del City, he said.
"Nothing like this ever happens here."

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