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Two Rottweilers maul middle school student in Vista

by John Gomez | Last Updated: November 6, 2009

November 6, 2009 – A Vista boy was recovering at home Wednesday from an attack by two Rottweilers that left him with about 40 bites on his chest, arms, abdomen and hand that his mother said required dozens of stitches.

The owner of the dogs voluntarily surrendered them to the North County Humane Society.  Elkie Wills, a spokeswoman for the Society, said Wednesday the dogs will be put down because of the severity of the attack.

Eleven-year-old Clayton “C.J.” Snow, a sixth-grader at Madison Middle School, was walking to class at about 9 a.m. Friday when two Rottweilers on the loose attacked him just behind Rancho Buena Vista High School.

Keely Garcia, a homemaker who lives in the area, said she was driving her daughter to school when she saw Snow screaming and running from the dogs. She got out of her car and tried to call for help.

Another woman, Deidre Smith, a kindergarten teacher at Hannalei Elementary in Vista, also noticed the attack and got out of her car and ran toward the scene. The two women said they tried to shield the boy from the dogs, but the dogs would go around them or jump on top of them for another shot at Snow.

Smith said she then dashed back to her car, desperately trying to find a weapon of some kind. Finding nothing, she opened her trunk and screamed for Snow to jump in.

“I turned around, and he’s face down on the pavement,” Smith said. “And they’ve ripped his pants and underpants off, like around his ankles and they’re dragging him, and I thought, I’m going to watch this boy die.”

Eventually, a young man ran up and grabbed the dogs, taking them off Snow, who was quickly escorted inside Smith’s car.

Garcia said she was glad to know that Snow would be okay, but frustrated that only Smith came to help.

“People were just passing us by, and people were standing behind their cars, and I was just looking at them, yelling, ‘help me, please help me.’ And they would say, I called 911. But nobody would come,” she said.

Snow is doing much better, his mother Misha Snow said Wednesday, and could be back in school as early as Monday. He had some infections in his stitches, but should make a full recovery, she said.

“He is recovering well, pretty speedy,” Snow said. “But of course my concerns are his mental state, his emotional state.” She said her son is now strong enough to talk about the incident, but he still has nightmares and avoids their Yorkshire terrier.

“He loves this little puppy, but now you can see the distance that he’s given to the dog,” she said.

The Rottweilers’ owner, Earl Henry, said he was sorry about the incident. He said he couldn’t figure out why the attack occurred because he had trained the dogs at obedience school, walked them regularly, and often had them around people.

“It’s just a sad situation,” he said. “And probably I’ll never own dogs again now. I just can’t really trust them.”

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