Zion Alexander, 4, was attacked by five dogs on Friday while playing outside with his cousin

By Char Adams
December 13, 2017 12:52 PM

Four-year-old Zion Alexander was playing outside with his cousin on December 8 when tragedy struck.

The boys were playing with a ball outside his aunt’s home in Liberty, Texas, when one of her pitbulls pounced on Zion and several others quickly joined in.

“His cousin came running to the back door and was saying, ‘The dogs are eating Zion!’ ” Zion’s mother, Tiffany McHan, tells PEOPLE. “My husband ran out the door screaming, ‘No! No!’ I ran behind him and there were like five dogs on top of my son.”

McHan, 24, says her husband, Trevion Alexander, attempted to fight off the dogs. She says he suffered two bites as he struggled to free his son, and the dogs “kept coming back.”

Courtesy Rochele Howard

“When I saw Zion freed, I picked him up and ran into the house,” she tells PEOPLE. “There was blood everywhere. I didn’t think he was gonna make it. I remember him telling me, ‘Mommy, I’m okay. I’m okay.’ ”

A spokesperson for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the incident to PEOPLE.

McHan says she does not blame her sister for what her dogs did, but says she is frustrated that the dogs are still in the home.

“It’s nothing we could have done to prevent it, the dogs did it,” she says, adding that her sister visited Zion in the hospital over the weekend.

The family has not pressed charges against the woman, McHan says, adding that her sister is “distraught and hurting” as a result of the incident.

Courtesy Rochele Howard

Zion was taken to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston where his parents learned he had suffered severe injuries, including a fractured skull, damaged ears, several lacerations to the face and internal damage to the right side of his head.

“His ears were all bitten up. His ears weren’t even attached,” McHan says of her son. “We noticed he wasn’t moving the right side of his face. During surgery, they found out that the nerve that operates the side of his face was shredded.”

Courtesy Rochele Howard

She says that doctors fear Zion won’t be able to hear well after the incident, as one of the animals bit through his ear canal. Zion has remained in the hospital since the incident, and McHan tells PEOPLE that the last few days have been “rough.”

Courtesy Rochele Howard

“A majority of the time he just shuts down because he knows he doesn’t look the same,” she says through tears. “That’s my baby, he’s like the light of the world. When you’re in a bad mood, he knows how to cheer you up. Just to see how strong he is. ”

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with Zion’s medical expenses.

The incident marks the second tragedy for the family in recent months. In October, the family’s Houston apartment was destroyed during Hurricane Harvey and the family has been living in a hotel. She says the family escaped the floodwaters on a small boat.

“That’s nothing compared to going through this,” McHan says. “But now we don’t have anywhere for our baby to go.”