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Blood and terror: a tale of a dog bite victim

The blood that was spattered around the back of the house and sidewalk has been cleaned up. But the nightmares and fears of the attack haven't washed away as easily.

The 67-year-old man still grapples with the terror and pain he felt the day he was attacked by a pair of Cane Corsos, Italian mastiff dogs that lived in his neighborhood.

He sustained deep dog bites in a violent attack in late October of last year when he found the dogs in his yard.

At first, the dogs ran off.

But the former Dubuque firefighter was shaken and when he left the house later, he did so with a hunting knife.

The dogs returned.

The pair of large dogs (they weighed about 130 pounds each) appeared ready to attack. The man knew from his training how to respond: he held up his arms and shouted "Stop!"

The animals halted about three feet short of him, but snarled and snapped at him as he backed across the yard and toward the house.

Unfortunately, the door was locked. Lodged between the front door and storm door while he tried to find his keys in his pockets, he tried to fend off one of the dogs as it bit his hand, arms and legs.

Finding the key, he unlocked the door and fell inside. Outside, his blood soaked the area.

Though the dogs were later euthanized, the man can't shake the fears created by the attack.

He's just one of 800,000 Americans who get medical attention each year for wounds sustained in dog bites each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Nearly half require emergency room treatment.

Those bitten most often tend to be young children.

The attacks can leave scars and injuries, both physical and emotional, that can last a lifetime.

Resource: The Telegraph Herald: "Friend or Foe?": March 20, 2011

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