A commotion erupted at a Tempe trailer park Monday morning when a pair of roaming pit bulls attacked a 12-yearold boy and residents fought off the dogs with everything from a broom to their feet.
The dogs, which bit the 12-year-old and a 17-year-old boy who came to his aid, were captured after police fired shots but missed, then cornered the dogs, allowing animal control workers to use snares and catch them.
The 12-year-old boy’s name hasn’t been released. Police say he might have suffered more than a bite on his calf if 17-year-old Jesus Jurado hadn’t rescued him.
“From the behavior of those dogs and what was beginning to happen, it could have been a very serious attack that could have had devastating injuries,” said police spokesman Sgt. Mike Horn.
Jurado said he didn’t hesitate to help the boy who he said froze when the dogs came running toward him.
“I didn’t think about it because they asked me if I was like, scared or like, something, I told them I didn’t even think,” Jurado said. “I didn’t know if I was scared or not. My first instinct was just to run up.”
The 12-year-old student, whose family declined comment, was on his way to Mc- Kemy Middle School about 7:30 a.m., when the attack occurred at the mobile home park at 1707 E. Apache Blvd.
The trailer park allows dogs, but most of the pooches are Chihuahuas, said manager Blas Chavez Sr.
The attack was the second in Tempe this year, and just one of many in the Valley. Across the Valley, there are laws regarding vicious dogs that hold owners responsible for attacks on humans, said Al Aguinaga, division manager for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.
And a pit bull expert says the responsibility should lie with the owners, who need to train their dogs and keep them leashed. Marcy Setter, a director for Pit Bull Rescue Central, adds that pit bulls shouldn’t be singled out when talking about aggressive dogs.
“All dogs attack, all dogs are capable of significant injury,” Setter said.
Jurado, a junior at Mc-Clintock High School, said the two dogs are usually secured. “So it was kind of weird that they were outside with their chains broke,” he said.
As he walked to class, he looked back because he knew young children would also be on their way to school.
“When I saw the kid walking by and they kind of walked towards him, he got scared and kind of stayed still,” Jurado said. “That’s when I started walking back.”
After the 12-year-old boy was bitten, Chavez’s wife, Antonia, started hitting the dogs with a broom, but the dogs took the broom from her, said 15-year-old Pablo Torres, who saw the attack.
Antonia Chavez then stepped inside her home and said the dogs were loose, Blas Chavez said. He called 911.
The dogs chased the two boys around a Mitsubishi Lancer parked in a middle aisle between the homes. “They was pretty mad,” Blas Chavez said.
Jurado helped the younger boy onto the top of the car, but the dogs tried to get on the hood. The teen kicked one hound on the side of the head and they backed away. “We told them to get in the car,” Blas Chavez said.
Jurado got down and put the 12-year-old boy inside the vehicle. After having his foot bitten, Jurado also got inside as the dogs scratched at the hood and side panels.
Police worked with animal control officers to get the pit bulls cornered in a carport. As the dogs were hunkered under another vehicle they captured them, Horn said.
The male and female pit bulls were transported to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. They will remain under quarantine for 10 days at a Mesa facility. Then, since the owner relinquished control of the dogs, they will be euthanized, Aguinaga said.
The dogs’ owner, Efran Zambrano, 25, faces two citations for having dogs at large and two citations for having no tags on the dogs.
Pit bull incidents since Dec. 1, 2006, based on Tribune archives and police reports:
• Dec. 21, 2006, a pit bull attacks a springer spaniel at Gilbert’s Cosmo Park.
• Jan. 22, Phoenix officers kill a dog after it attacked a German shepherd and lunged at a toddler.
• Jan. 25, Tempe police shoot and kill a pit bull after the dog attacked a woman at the scene of a disturbance call.
• Jan. 26, Phoenix police shoot and kill a pit bull that latched onto a 73-year-old woman’s arm.
• Feb. 7, Phoenix officers kill a dog after it charged at an officer trying to make an arrest.
• April 2, authorities capture two pit bulls in Tempe after they attacked two boys.