CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Three bull terriers that viciously attacked a 7-year-old boy in south Charlotte were euthanized after being turned over to authorities, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Animal Care & Control.
Animal Care & Control officials confirmed Friday that the dogs tested negative for rabies and the owners have been issued citations. Jose Banegas, owner of one of the dogs, and Claris Guerrero, owner of the remaining two animals, have each been charged for citations in violation of Charlotte city code and will appear in court later this month.
Noah Bertrand and his mom were on their way home in Madison Park when the dogs came out of nowhere. The boy’s parents say if it wasn’t for quick action by their neighbors, their son wouldn’t be alive.
“All of a sudden, I heard this screaming,” said Sandy Stumpf, a neighbor. “And I run to the door and here is the mother trying to protect her child. All I could see is the rear end of three pit bulls [sic] on the child.”
Erin O’Hare says the scene was terrifying as she heard screams and looked out her door in the pouring rain to see three large dogs attacking the young boy across the street.
“It was like something out of a horror movie,” O’Hare said. “The mother was there trying to pull them off and the neighbor next to me was there with a broom just screaming and hitting the dogs.”
“I’ve never see anything so traumatic,” said Stumpf.
Now, Noah Bertrand has scars across his forehead after hours of surgery following the attack. Neighbors say he was walking home from the bus stop with his mom when the dogs walked up and attacked.
“And Liz [his mother] said they didn’t growl, they didn’t do anything,” Stumpf said. “They just walked up and attacked him. There was no warning, nothing.”
In those frantic few moments, the dogs tore at young Noah. As his mother covered him with her body to protect him, neighbors rallied to fight them off.
“He was screaming and crying and thank goodness he was alert,” O’Hare said. “But his face and his legs, and it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“I have puncture wounds on my arms and leg but that's under control,” said Liz Bertrand in one of the posts. “Trying to take things one moment at a time but dealing with some serious trauma.”
She said in another post that the family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support from friends and neighbors, and also thankful the injury was not worse.
“Noah will be ok and I know the love from family and friends will help him -- and all of us -- get there,” she wrote.
Noah’s father has kept friends updated on his recovery through Facebook. According to neighbors, the dogs have been turned over to animal control. Initial reports identified the dogs at pit bulls, but CMPD confirmed the dogs are bull terriers and not pit bulls.
The seven-year-old’s family is focused on his recovery and neighbors hope it doesn’t happen to any other child, ever again.
“I hope some kind of action is taken for his sake, and everyone else,” O’Hare said.
Copyright 2016 WCNC