WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC PICTURES
A 7-year-old boy in Azle, Texas, is bouncing back from a dog attack last month that left him with cuts and bruises all over his body and required more than three hours of surgery to repair nerve damage.
The boy, identified by the Parker County Sheriff’s Office as Conner Landers, had just gotten off a school bus on Jan. 21 when a black brindle boxer and bull mastiff mixed breed escaped a fenced yard and attacked him.
A neighbor saw what was happening after her dogs started barking and sprang into action.
“He had Connor, was taking him through the ditch to his yard,” the neighbor, Lorena Parker, told Fox 4 Dallas-Fort Worth. “Every time I got the dog off, he would turn and go right back to Connor because he was crying. It was horrible.”
Parker was eventually able to free Connor by hitting the dog with a large stick.
“There was no thought, just to do, get the dog off of him,” Parker told the local news outlet.
Emergency medical personnel transferred Connor to a local hospital for treatment.
Connor’s first reconstructive surgery to his face lasted more than three hours and he’ll need more surgeries to repair nerve damage and his tear duct, his mother, Cassandra Ware, said through the sheriff’s office.
The dog’s owner, 49-year-old Patti Jean Bell-Neveling, was arrested on Monday and charged with attack by dog causing serious bodily injury, a third-degree felony. She was released on a $10,000 bond on Tuesday, according to jail records.
Bell-Neveling said she wasn’t home at the time of the attack, but her dog was fenced in the yard when she left for Walmart.
“My dog has always played with other children and animals and I don’t understand what happened,” she told Fox News Digital.
The dog was humanely euthanized last week, according to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office credited Parker with saving Connor and gave her a $500 reward for her actions.
“We commend Conner’s neighbor for her bravery and quick actions in saving him,” Sheriff Russ Authier said in a statement on Monday. “We are praying for Conner to make a full recovery.”
Connor’s mom posted on Facebook that her son has been “getting stronger everyday” and was cleared to return to school last Friday.