As they neared the end of their race, Rett glanced back at his younger brother and said, “There are two dogs that are chasing you.”

The younger boy got off his bike and said, “Good dog.” Instead, the animal tore into him and threw him to the ground. Rett tried to intervene but was quickly overwhelmed. You never stood a chance. Rett weighs 65 pounds. Foster 48. The dogs weighed 100 pounds and maybe 125 pounds each, according to witnesses.

The 60-year-old Merriam ran towards the boys who were lying together on a lawn among the growling animals. She compared it to lions devouring prey. She repeatedly pulled Foster’s smaller dog, but could not move Rett’s larger animal. Blood spurted in his throat, she remembered, “like a hose.”

She got hectic: “He’s bleeding out in front of me,” she thought.

The woman looked up to see a man walking by in the street. She waved and yelled for help, but he looked away and kept walking.

Rett Godfrey, 8, (center) and his brother Foster, 6, likely live off the quick-thinking and bravery of Joey Boassy and Mary Ellen Merriam. (Image Credit: Courtesy Photo by Scott Godfrey)

Image Credit: Photo courtesy Scott Godfrey

Image Credit: Photo courtesy Scott Godfrey

She threw herself on the younger boy and was bitten herself, though it momentarily freed Foster and allowed him to walk home a quarter of a mile on torn legs. She beats herself up with it now. She thought they were children who lived on the block a few doors down. Instead, they were too bloody to be seen.

“It was like a whirling dervish rolling down the street. They just wouldn’t stop, ”she recalled. “It started in the street, then went to a side courtyard, then to the front yard. Blood was spraying everywhere and going everywhere. “

Joey Boassy, ​​34, a foreman at a pool construction company, who heard the commotion from a backyard but initially thought nothing of it. However, something didn’t feel right, he said. So I went forward.

“Rett had just gotten off the dog, he was red from head to toe,” recalled Boassy. “He took two steps and the dog was at his throat, shaking his neck and just tearing it open.”

It looked to him as if the boy had nothing left. Boassy sprinted 30 meters and tore the dog on the jaw with a right overcut. The blow didn’t bother the dog (Boassy thought he broke his hand). But it distracted the animal’s attention for a moment, just enough for Boassy to get Rett out of there.

“I picked him up and ran back to the construction site,” Boassy said, when he thought he might find help. The dogs chased him and briefly knocked him down, but stopped when they came across four or five men who came out to see what was going on.

Boassy, ​​a former Marine, took off his shirt and wrapped it around Rett’s neck. He could see the boy’s bones in his torn shoulder and arm.

Rett stared at him and asked repeatedly, “Am I going to die?”

“I got his blood in my eyes and I spat it out,” said Boassy.

Meanwhile, 6-year-old Foster was running the quarter mile home, bleeding profusely, and alerting his father, Scott Godfrey, who jumped into his car with the boy and rushed to the scene only to see two bicycles lying unattended on the street.

Then he saw a man – Boassy – who was looking after his son. “His eyes were huge,” said the father of Rett. “There was blood everywhere. He was shocked. “

The younger boy then showed his legs to the adults. They were badly torn.

They were taken by ambulance to Children’s Healthcare in Atlanta at Scottish Rite, where plastic and vascular surgeons worked on them for hours. Rett had more than 30 cuts and required 300 stitches in the neck, shoulder, arms and groin area. Muscles were destroyed. Foster took almost as many stings. They both spent three nights in the hospital.

Fulton County Animal Services cited the dog’s owner, Charlotte Claiborne Landy, for 10 violations of the regulation, including “annoying” bites, involving dogs at large and without a county license. Lara Hudson, who heads the agency, said the investigation will continue and will be referred to the district attorney who will decide whether state charges should be brought.

Landy submitted a letter of apology and insurance information to Godfreys, but did not want to comment on this column. She told the police that the dogs had gotten out of the car before but were not aggressive. You were put to sleep this week.

Claudine Wilkins, a former prosecutor who founded the Animal Law Source and helped draft laws on dangerous dogs, said a few weeks ago that she has started representing victims on two new cases. The injuries can be dire, and the carnage from Rottweiler attacks is some of the most serious because of their size and jaw strength, she said.

Wilkins, who is not part of the Godfrey case, said a boy’s scalp was torn off by a Rottweiler in southwest Atlanta a few months ago when the child’s father tried to fend off the dog. The boy survived, she said, but added, “I’m tired of seeing autopsy photos of children. What bothers me is that most dog bites are preventable. “

After a severe attack, Wilkins said she heard a lot, “Oh, but my dog ​​would never hurt anyone.”

“How do you know?” She said.

The Godfreys are considering legal action. “It’s bigger than our children. We want to take the floor to let people know, ”Godfrey said. “If you are a dog owner, be responsible. We want to tell a cautionary story and help dog owners think twice. “

There have been stories and studies that said there were more dog attacks during the pandemic, but the Fulton Animal Service director said she didn’t think this was the case.

In the meantime, the Godfrey boys have recovered remarkably well and with some therapy should soon return to their pre-attack selves. Your father doesn’t know what kind of emotional trauma his sons suffered, but it’s not obvious. At least not now.

The Godfreys recently invited Merriam, Boassy and their family to show their deep gratitude. Boassy said his kids and the Godfrey boys were playing in the yard together.

If the two strangers hadn’t acted, one or both of the boys would have died horribly. “I’m 100% sure of that,” said Godfrey.

Instead, they run around as kids.

“This is a heroic story,” said Godfrey. “That’s for sure.”

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