A veterinarian who is afraid of dogs? That’s how Nancy Matthews of Valley Center describes her dog bite experience after being viciously attacked by two boxers near her Valley Center home. Matthews was attacked in November while taking a walk with her two young.
Pedro Balerio Torres, the owner of the dogs, will stand trial this month on two felony charges for failing to protect the public from his dogs. He faces a sentence of three years if convicted.
Understandably, the attack has been devastating to Matthews and her family.
Matthews said she was hospitalized for six days after the attack, which left her with bites and scars over most of her body. She said a doctor sutured more than 20 areas on her head, right ear, legs, arms and back, and that her right leg had a hole big enough to put her fist through. She also suffered a severed left bicep and several sliced muscles, and required a blood transfusion, she said.
She and the boys had finished climbing the “infamous steep hill” —- a family tradition —- and had each collected a pebble to mark the accomplishment when she first saw the dog blocking their path, Matthews told the North County Times. She said she reached for her sons’ hands and started to back away, calling out to the Torres house for help.
“The dog cocked his head and looked at me, and then his expression turned suddenly ferocious,” Matthews said.
Eventually Torres’ wife ran out and stopped the attack, but the woman apparently didn’t call an ambulance because she didn’t speak English.
Matthews’ life has been upended. She said her medical bills far exceed $100,000, much of it coming out of her own pocket and placing her family in debt. To add insult to injury, Matthews is a veterinarian who is unable to work because of a paralyzing fear of dogs.
Civil litigation is pending. Let’s hope Nancy obtains the relief she deserves, and is fully compensated for this horrible attack.