BRADENTON, Fla. - Two Australian Shepherd dogs are the Grinches who managed to ruin the Christmas holiday for Justin Curtis and his family.
The dogs left him with stitches and on crutches after attacking him on Christmas Eve as he tried to give the mailman a letter his father forget to send out.
"As soon as they got close enough they just sank their teeth right into my right leg," said Justin.
On his bike, Justin tried to fend the dogs off. It didn't work and they ended up dragging him to the ground. During the attack they bit him six times. A bite to his left calf was so bad it exposed muscle.
Manatee County deputies say the dogs escaped from a house on Morning Glory Circle while the owner was at work. Apparently, a window was open in the house and the dogs managed to jump through the screen.
At least one of the dogs worked as a therapy dog for more than a decade.
"I just couldn't lay there. I just had to keep fighting," Justin explained.
A neighbor by the name of Bob-who declined to speak on-camera--happened to be driving by when the attack occurred and told Justin to jump in. Soaked with blood, Justin ran to the car.
"I initially thought he was hit by the car that brought him home," said Jessey Curtis, Justin's father.
The Curtis family was getting ready to head to a holiday party. Instead, they took off toward the hospital.
Justin's mother is a nurse and was able to wrap his wounds in gauze. The only thing she couldn't control was his pain during the long drive from Bradenton to Downtown St. Petersburg.
Justin needed five stitches and will need dozens more once his wounds drain. He didn't sustain any nerve damage but it is likely he will have to undergo plastic surgery and get skin grafts on his left leg.
He will also be on crutches for at least the next two weeks.
"I'm just thankful for the guy in the SUV. He saved my life," Justin added.
Officers with Manatee Animal Control now have both dogs. They will decide on Wednesday whether or not to put the dogs down.
The Curtis family has since talked to the owner of the dogs. They described her as "upset." She has since left out of town.
"It didn't seem to be a negligent situation so I just think we will have to forgive and forget," Jessey Curtis added.
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