7-Year-Old Texas Boy Attacked by Neighbor's Dog After Getting Off School Bus, Police Say

Patti Jean Bell-Neveling, 49, has been arrested and charged with a third-degree felony following the attack

dog attack
Photo: cbs dfw

A 7-year-old Texas boy is "slowly recovering" after being attacked by his neighbor's dog last month, per police.

Conner Landers, of Azle, had reportedly gotten off his school bus and was walking down the 1400-Block of Lynock Lane in late January when a neighbor's dog attacked, the Parker County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. The brindle boxer/bullmastiff mixed-breed "escaped his fenced yard and attacked Conner for unknown reasons," authorities explained.

"When the neighbor attempted to stop the attack, the dog went toward her, forcing her back to her yard," the statement said.

Police said another neighbor was alerted to the attack when her own dogs began barking. When she went to investigate the situation, she saw the boxer/bullmastiff mix attacking the boy and intervened, freeing him by "hitting the dog with a large stick."

dog attack
Parker County Sheriff’s Office

Landers was transported to a Fort Worth hospital for the serious injuries he sustained, including bite wounds on his neck, puncture wounds on his scalp and lacerations all over his body.

The dog has since been "humanely euthanized," and its owner, Patti Jean Bell-Neveling was arrested Monday on a warrant for a third-degree felony of attack by dog resulting in serious bodily injury. Bond has not yet been set.

The neighbor who intervened, identified by KDFW as Lorena Parker, said she called 911 after seeing the dog shaking Conner "like a chew toy."

"Every time I got the dog off, he would turn and go right back to Connor because he was crying," Parker told the station. "It was horrible."

Soon after, the boy's mother Cassandra Ware came outside and discovered the scene.

dog attack
Parker County Sheriff’s Office

"[I] kept telling him to stay still, he was wearing a white t-shirt and it was drenched in blood," Ware told KDFW. "He kept asking if I was there. He said, 'Mom, the dog used me as a chew toy, it hurts, it hurts.' "

Ware said her son was hospitalized for several days and has already undergone the first of a series of surgeries, per police. The mother also said her son will also need physical therapy to use one of his arms again.

"He underwent more than three hours of surgery to repair nerve damage to his face and to close more than two dozen lacerations his face, head and body," Ware said of Landers, per the PCSO. "The doctors anticipate he will need several more surgeries to repair additional nerve damage to his face and to repair his tear duct."

In the wake of the attack, PCSO Animal Control Supervisor Karen Kessler has launched a fundraiser to support Landers, police said in Tuesday's statement. Funds will benefit the boy's "accumulating medical bills and continued treatment" and his family in the coming months.

"We just wanted to do something to help Conner on his long road to recovery," Kessler said.

Additionally, Parker received a $500 reward from the animal control officers' fundraising efforts for her actions that day. According to Ware, hospital staff said Parker saved Landers' life.

"I don't feel like I'm a hero," Parker told KDFW. "I feel like I'm a person who did what I should have done."

Donations can be made to the Conner Lander's Benefit Account via Plain Capital at (817) 598-5400.

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