Barbara A. Brown, the victim of a serious canine attack that resulted in a lost breast, three broken fingers and numerous other bite wounds, describes the mauling that occurred near her Roswell home last week. The 4-foot-10-inch, 63-year-old Brown said she considers herself fortunate to have survived the pit bull’s attack. Pictured with her is her friend, Billy Ray, with whom Brown is staying while she recuperates. Brown says she’s afraid to go back home and has been having recurrent nightmares about the attack. (Jeff Tucker Photo)
Barbara Ann Brown says she knows her neighbor’s pit bull all too well.
Brown, 63, said the first time the pit bull attacked her, she jumped in a trash can in the alley behind her home to take cover.
She said the second time it attacked her, she used a baby buggy to fend it off while she was walking in front of her West Third Street home.
And the third time, last week, the attack nearly cost her her life.
“Three times it’s been happening. They should have done something after the first time. That’s the way I feel,” Brown told the Daily Record Wednesday. “It’s three times he attacked me, and one time he just got out.”
Roswell police said the 4-foot-10-inch, 127-pound Brown was attacked by the 3-year-old male pit bull at about 4:45 p.m. March 9 while she was walking near her home in the 1100 block of West Third Street.
“He had me. I couldn’t do nothing. I was screaming,” Brown said. “Jesus and God was with me, because I could have been a goner. He could have gotten my throat.”
Police said the black pit bull had broken off his cable tether in the backyard of the home of Jessie A. Navarez at 1103 W. Third St.
“They couldn’t have had him on a chain because it wouldn’t have broke,” Brown said. “He broke that chain, whatever they had him on.”
Navarez, the owner of the dog, was charged Tuesday in Roswell Municipal Court with a misdemeanor count of vicious dog (the charge when a dog attacks a person or another animal) and dogs running/found at large, a petty misdemeanor offense.
“I was walking through the alley because I checking my dumpsters,” Brown recalled events. “I had went through the alley and was going back home. On the way back home going through the alley, I noticed something black coming out the fence at the bottom, and that was that black pit coming out.
“When he come out, he started grabbing me. He grabbed my right (breast) and pulled it off. He got my right hand and he got my left hand. And he got my left leg. Then he almost got my head. He got a bite mark in it. He got hooked to my scalp. I thought it had tore up my scalp the way it felt.”
Police said the pit bull escaped the back fencing of the Navarez home and charged Brown as she was walking in the alley.
“The pit viciously attacked her, biting her on both legs, both hands, arms, face, stomach, neck, thighs and chest, biting one of her breasts off,” states a Roswell Animal Control incident report.
Brown said the attack was finally stopped by Navarez’s wife.
“That’s when she came out there screaming,” Brown said. “She seen me and started screaming, because she couldn’t stand the sight of it. She started going back into the fence, but she still had him loose. I said ‘Get that pit. Get the pit,’ because he can turn around any minute on her. And then finally, she went over there and got him by the collar.”
Brown said the Navarez fence was insufficient to contain an animal known to be aggressive.
“That’s their responsibility,” she said. “That’s irresponsible. That’s not the dog’s fault, it’s their fault.”
Shortly after the attack, Brown was taken by ambulance to a local hospital and then flown to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, for further treatment of her extreme trauma.
“The doctor said she was lucky to be alive,” said James Edwards, a friend and neighbor of Brown.
In addition to the lost breast, Brown said she suffered three broken fingers and numerous other bite wounds.
“I’m hanging in there, anyway. I’ll put it like that,” she said.
Authorities have quarantined the pit bull that attacked Brown.
“The dog was immediately taken into custody by city Animal Services and remains quarantined at the animal shelter, where it must stay for 10 days from the attack,” said Roswell Police Department spokesperson Todd Wildermuth. “The purpose of that, mandated by state law for dogs that bite a person, is for the dog to be observed for any behavioral indications of rabies.”
Wildermuth said the pit bull’s vaccinations are up to date and the animal has been properly registered with the city.
“At the end of the 10 days, a determination regarding the dog’s status will be made by Animal Services,” he said.
Unlike the June 2014 multiple pit bull attack on 9-year-old Colby Prince in the 5000 block of Vista Lane, the pit bull that attacked Brown last week had not been rescued or adopted from the shelter operated by Roswell Animal Control Services.
While the pit bull that attacked Brown has been quarantined, Brown said she does not want to go home. She’s currently staying with a friend elsewhere in town while she recuperates.
“I’m afraid to go back home because it’s on the same street,” she said of the pit bull. “I’m too scared to go back home on that street.”
Brown said she remains emotionally shaken by the attack.
“I’ve been having nightmares ever since that happened,” she said. “It was three days before I could go to sleep. Three whole days, I couldn’t get no rest.”
Despite her injuries, Brown said she considers herself fortunate to have survived the attack, and she hopes her suffering will not be in vain.
“What if that had been a child going through that alley?” Brown asked. “It would have just took one bite for them. That’s something horrid. That could have been anybody.”
Senior Writer Jeff Tucker may be contacted at 575-622-7710, ext. 303, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.