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Jeremiah Rivera (Photo via Handout: Milton Signman Walters)

When Joel Rivera woke up on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, he found his 5-year-old son on the living room floor choking on his own blood. Jeremiah Rivera had been mauled by one of his dad’s pit bulls.

“He didn’t have a face, just teeth, that was all I could see. And the smell of raw meat,” Joel says tearfully to New York Daily News. One of Joel’s two dogs escaped its crate in their East New York home. Of course, Joel blames himself.

“He wasn’t breathing. I yelled at him and said, ‘Come back! I love you, come back! I got you, come back to Daddy!’ Rivera tells The Post.

When he found his son, Joel ran into the street yelling and screaming for help before fainting on the stoop.

Young Jeremiah was attacked around 6:45 p.m. He has deep lacerations on his face and neck and lost two pints of blood, and required at least 2K stitches in his face.

Joel continues, “The last time I had his blood on me was when I cut his umbilical cord. I am responsible for this. This is my fault.
‘Man’s best friend?’ How you going to do this to my son and be called man’s best friend?”

Jeremiah lives in the Brooklyn apartment with his father, mother and two sisters, 8 and one-year-old. It was his youngest sister’s 1st birthday.

“The last thing I ate was grilled cheese with my kids two days ago,” Joel sobs. “I can’t eat. I close my eyes and I see [Jeremiah] smiling. Singing happy birthday [to his sister]. I just want to hear him laugh again.”

Animal Care and Control have custody of both dogs.

Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.