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Man recovers after pit bull attack (video)

May 24, 2012 at 12:24 a.m.
Updated May 25, 2012 at 12:25 a.m.

Alderete II stands at the site on Gin Road in Telferner where he was bitten by a pit bull.

WHO TO CALL

If you see a stray dog in Victoria city limits, call Victoria City-County Animal Control at 361-578-3564 or the Victoria Police Department at 361-573-3221.

Not once did the dog growl. Even when it had 20-year-old Paul Alderete II by the neck.

Alderete, who was bitten by a pit bull near Telferner on Tuesday, was released from the hospital Wednesday evening and is recovering at home, said his mother, Polly Grudzieski, 47, of Edna.

"Monday, my husband and I went out to Telferner off of Gin Road to see about a vehicle for sale that I was considering buying - a 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle," Grudzieski said.

When she got out of her vehicle, Grudzieski saw "Tex" - a tan and white pit bull - chained near the vehicle.

The owner, Wayne Countryman, 57, said the 2-year-old dog had been in his family since birth. He had the dog on his property for about four months.

"I believe that while this dog was under this man's care he did not mistreat the animal nor trained it to be aggressive," Grudzieski said. "My husband wasn't scared of the dog, but I was more cautious; moving slowly around the animal and letting the dog smell me."

Grudzieski decided to purchase the Chevelle and her husband called Monday evening to make arrangements with Countryman to finalize the sale Tuesday afternoon.

Grudzieski's husband, Wayne Grudzieski, 40, and Alderete drove out to Countryman's property in a Chevrolet Silverado pickup. Grudzieski drove separately in her Camaro so she could return to work after paying and signing paperwork while her husband and son loaded the Chevelle on a trailer.

When they arrived, the dog was loose.

"The dog ran up to my husband and jumped on him, remembering him from the day before," Grudzieski said. "He licked him, was acting excited. Then he ran up to me and jumped on me, too. I was nervous and said, 'Oh no, don't do that.'"

Countryman called out to the dog, and he quit jumping on her, she said.

As the Grudzieskis followed Countryman toward his house to look at parts to help with the vehicle restoration, the dog jumped on Alderete.

"He jumped on him just like he did my husband - so we thought, anyway," Grudzieski said. "My son petted him, but the dog just jumped straight up to his face and neck and went straight for his throat and latched down."

No one realized Alderete was bit until the dog was pulling him to the ground.

"It took a few seconds to comprehend what the dog was actually doing because no barking or growling was done beforehand," Grudzieski said. "When my son hit the ground, we could see the blood coming out immediately."

Alderete pried the dog's jaw off of his neck, but it bit his neck a second time while he was on the ground. Alderete tried to prevent the dog's jaw from locking up with one hand and used his other hand to poke at his eyes until the dog released his grip.

"The dog released him, and at that same time the owner pulled the dog off of him and immediately chained him up," Grudzieski said. "There was a white pit bull running around that I hadn't seen the day before. I told the gentleman to please secure the other dog while I summoned EMS to meet us at Telferner Store."

Countryman brought towels to stem the bleeding and helped restrain the next door neighbor's white dog.

Alderete was taken by ambulance to Citizens Medical Center for treatment.

"I got really lucky," Alderete said. "He was literally like an eighth of an inch away from my arteries."

Alderete had eight puncture wounds and air trapped under the skin of his neck, Grudzieski said.

Countryman visited Alderete in the hospital.

"My son had to have surgery to clean the wounds out and stitches, but is under way to a full recovery," Grudzieski said. "Even lying in bed, my son didn't want the dog destroyed. He is an animal lover, just as I am."

However, Countryman released his dog to animal control and requested it be euthanized, said Heather Kern, assistant supervisor at Victoria City-County Animal Control.

"When a dog bites a person, the dog is quarantined for a 10-day period, whether it is currently vaccinated for rabies or not," Kern said. "Whether the dog dies or is euthanized during the 10-day quarantine, by state law it must be tested for rabies for the safety of the person that was bitten."

The test results for Countryman's dog came back negative for rabies, Kern said.

"I have three sons. Two of them served in Iraq at the same time. I learned to cherish them even more," Countryman said. "I knew that dog didn't have rabies, but now I know that will never happen again with that dog. No parent will have to worry over their child again because of my dog."

The Grudzieskis did purchase the Chevelle and Alderete went with his family to pick up the car Thursday evening.

"Hopefully, this will be a happy ending to a bad experience. I hope I can help them with the restoration of the car," Countryman said. "It has been a tragic and traumatic experience. It's my first experience with a dog bite, and I still haven't gotten over it."

Countryman said he lost sleep Tuesday night over the attack.

"But it has also been an enlightening experience," Countryman said. "I've had several other breeds of dogs in my life and none of them ever acted like that."

It is important for the owners of pit bulls to be well-read on the breed of dog and properly prepared to care for them, Countryman said. He also suggested people raise the dog from the day they are born, so they are familiar with how the dog reacts in every situation.

"But you just can't train a wolf," Countryman said.

Countryman has known dogs to attack and has seen some vicious bites on people's ankles, but has never seen a dog lunge at a person's throat.

"He was trying to kill that kid. I thought I knew this dog, but I didn't. No one did," Countryman said. "He was a good dog. I'll tell you that. He was good to me and good by me."

Countryman said he takes full responsibility for Tuesday's attack.

"I feel remorse for the dog. Although he did it, it's a tragedy that I let him do it. That I didn't know enough about pit bulls to be ahead of the game," Countryman said.

Grudzieski said we will never know why the dog chose to attack.

"We don't know what triggered this dog to do this nor did my son provoke the dog," Grudzieski said. "They are just animals. They are unpredictable. They are not the only dogs that do this. My heart goes out to the owner of the animal - he had no idea that his dog would do such a thing."

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