Serviceman Rescues 2 Children Under Attack by Dog

Times Staff Writer

A Roto-Rooter serviceman is being credited with rescuing two children being attacked by a vicious dog in Sylmar.

Lt. Robert Pena, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Department of Animal Regulation, said the boy and girl were in Tarzana Hospital Wednesday for treatment of bites to the head and neck, a day after they were pulled from the dog by the serviceman, Fred Duran, 30, of Sylmar. The childrens’ names were not disclosed.

The childrens’ uncle, Steve Gillis of Sylmar, said the the girl, 2, will undergo surgery today for possible nerve damage to her face and that the boy, 3, may need plastic surgery, but added that “they’re doing fine, considering.”

Duran said he was driving to a routine service call Tuesday morning when he passed two dogs staring at the the boy and girl, who were taking a walk with their grandmother. Duran said he made a U-turn and came upon the grandmother fighting off one dog as he attacked the boy.


“The dog was just crazy,” he said. “I’ve seen people bitten before but I’d never seen a dog trying to eat a kid before. . . . He was just chewing on the boy.”

Duran said he jumped out of his van and sprayed some Mace, which he keeps for emergencies, in the dog’s face. The dog was stunned, giving Duran time to pick the boy up and rush him to the van, he said.

But the dog then attacked the girl and dragged her a few feet by her hair, Duran said. Throughout the incident, the other dog simply watched, he said.

He said that, as he shouted to the grandmother to grab the girl, the dog that was sprayed with Mace jumped through the open door and again attacked the boy. He said he hit the dog with his arm and pushed it out of the van. Then he pulled the grandmother and the girl inside the van, he said. The grandmother was not bitten.


Duran said he drove them to the grandmother’s house a few blocks away, and that they went to the hospital from there. He said he called police and animal control officials.