Austin woman charged in July dog attack

Austin woman charged in July dog attack

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According to an Austin Police affidavit, it was around 5:30 in the morning when Austinite Michael Croft was walking his small dog around his neighborhood in July.

When he got to the 4400 block of Dovemeadow Drive, he saw several much larger dogs behind a wrought-iron fence.

Seconds later, what police describe as three large Pitt-Bull mixes were out in the street with him.

Police say when the dogs approached the man, he quickly picked his little dog up and put it in the bed of a truck that was nearby. That's when the dogs started jumping on Croft. And the police document says that it was playful at first but it quickly turned aggressive.

"He tried to actually climb in the truck too. And one of the dogs bit him on his right arm and actually pulled him off the truck down to the ground. Tried to get back up and get back in the truck again," said Detective Timothy Divens with Austin Police.

Divens says Maria Davila, the owner of the dogs, admitted to seeing the dog attack.

"She said she looked over and her and her son were just kind of calling the dogs from the yard. You know they didn't actually go out into the street and try to help the guy at the point it was happening," Divens said.

If anyone knows what a dog attack feels like, it's dog trainer Steven Nicely.

He worked with K-9's as a Marine in the early '70s and later as a civilian police officer in the San Antonio area.

"One of the dog bites I had I ended up going through physical therapy for four months to regain the use of my hands," Nicely said.

Nicely says there's no perfect solution when you're faced with a dog attack like this one.

But he says never turn your back on them...and don't run away.

"You might slowly back away. But you don't want to run because that could increase them chasing after and engaging you," he said.

In order to get dogs off of him when he was a police officer, Nicely says he had to reach under their chin and grab their necks until they opened their mouths.

And he says whatever you do, don't pull away when a dog has his teeth in you.

"If you try to pull away, they've got their teeth into your meat...of your arm…and they're just going to rip it right off," Nicely said.

Maria Davila is now in the Travis County Jail charged with attack by dog, a 3rd degree felony.

Police tell us in most cases, dogs accused of a vicious attack are euthanized. But in this instance, an agreement was made in the "dangerous dog hearing." The dogs are back at home, but they'll be registered as dangerous dogs.

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