jeremiah-rivera-handout-milton-signman-walters

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.

  • Chuck

    And how could you call yourself a “father” for allowing these vicious animals in your home, around your kids. I pray for the kid and other kids whose parents subject them to vicious animals in the homes.

    • Michelle

      I agree Chuck. This should have never happened.

  • hidaya

    I’m glad to see Dad blames himself. He was dead wrong! I just wish Mom had put her foot down and said NO to allowing vicious attack dogs in their home.

  • Likewaterforchoc

    Wow! and such a beautiful child. They live in an apartment in NY. I am shocked that there are no breed restrictions in apartment building. He housed not 1, but 2 vicious breeds (and stop handing people that line about there being no such thing as a vicious breed) in an apartment inhabited by 4 adults and 3 young children. Those are not suitable accommodations for 2 pit bulls. He is right to blame himself.

    • hidaya

      You are right on point!!!! I have a feeling the landlord did NOT know those dogs were there and the neighbors wouldn’t ‘snitch’. SAD!

    • Pamela

      I am a Property Manager in Georgia…..We do have a restriction on all vicious dogs….I had tenants try to do the same thing had ‘Pit bulls in there apartment, my tenants told the office about the Pit Bull That had 2 choices get rid of the dog within 4 days or move…..Vicious breed dogs, shout not live in a apartment or be around kids

  • Keyana

    Everyone of you’ll need to shut up how dare you’ll judge anyone that doesn’t make him a bad father and it wasn’t his fault it could happen to anyone I can’t stand people like you’ll that want to judge other’s when you really don’t know what’s going on how about praying for this family that’s if you know God anyway I’m praying for this family may God cover this little boy and please father have mercy on these rude ungodly people.

    • Michelle

      How do we not know what’s going on? The story is about a vicious dog attacking a child. Did I miss something? Everyone knows that you should not have pit bulls around children, unless you’ve been living under a rock. Even the father knows better now…why do you think he feels guilty about this whole incident? I know the reason, because he knew theses dogs were vicious and yet he still placed his children in harms way thinking this would never happen to them.

      • Jae Gregory

        I agree with you, it’s just as bad as having a gun in reach of a Child, clearly Keyana must be delusional, not to think the Father of this beautiful Child is not at fault, he admitted he was wrong, if you train a dog to be vicious, what do you expect, I know that Pit bulls can be mild mannered animals and would protect a Child, his dog was not that kind of Pit Bull.

        • ChocolateCity

          but, why would you have these type of animals near any child. sick shhht.

          • LadyTee Bumphus

            He broke out of his cage HELLO PEOPLE!!! but i guess we all are perfect!!

          • Miss Cellany

            That man should NEVER have had an aggressive dog around his children, EVER. I don’t care how many cages, locks and doors you put it behind, at some point a human is going to make a mistake and forget to lock one or all of them and the dog will get loose. No one is perfect – EXACTLY – that is why you don’t take unnecessary risks and if you know your dog is capable of killing or injuring a child (which he obviously did as he had it crated) then you DON’T keep that animal on the same property where your children live.

      • Sharon Cook

        He’s hurt he wasn’t thinking the dam dog was going to turn on his child. May God bless this family

    • Jae Gregory

      C’mon it was his fault, he knew the dog was vicious, that’s why he kept the dog crated, it could have happen to any of his Children, you don’t keep a dangerous animal around Children…that’s the rule, No excuses.

    • Likewaterforchoc

      Stop it. Just stop already. One thing that God charges parents with when BLESSING them with children is that they should love, care for their children and KEEP THEM SAFE. Children are a responsibility, so of course, this is SOMEONE’S fault. He is accountable for them. An apartment in NY with 7 other humans is not an ideal living situation for 2 pit bulls. Any responsible person should know that.

      • Miss Cellany

        Anywhere near children is not an ideal living situation for 2 pit bulls.

    • Sharon Cook

      Amen God please cover his family with the blood of Jesus

    • ChocolateCity

      no, you shut up. we all make choices. we can use common sense or NOT. dogs like that shouldn’t be inside a house.. let along an apartment. gtfofh. may God bless the little boy. bad decision…that he didn’t even make…now he has to live with it for the rest of his life.

    • Christina Farmer

      Omg THANK YOU FOR SAYING THIS! I was ready these comments of these heartless people. PRAY PRAY AND PRAY AGAIN! INTERNET THUGS

      • SrAgri

        Heartless? Anyone trying to justify keeping vicious dogs around children is heartless.

    • SrAgri

      Reality check: The dog didn’t pry open a window and slip into the apartment at night. The father was intentionally keeping vicious, dangerous animals in apartment with young children.

      This “gangsta culture” fascination with vicious dogs needs to stop!

  • CBaby23

    We can pray for that beautiful child all day and all night, but it will not erase the horrendous tragedy that happened to him, that led to him having 2,000 stitches in that beautiful face. TWO THOUSAND STITCHES! And yes, I’m most certainly praying for the child, the mother, the siblings, AND the father. BUUUT, that does NOT change the fact that the parents, both of them, acted irresponsibly in having not one, but two VICIOUS breeds of dogs around their small children. SMALL children. Keep in mind there was a child who just turned 1 yrs old. God forbid the dog that got out of the cage didn’t end up in that child’s room. The infant would’ve been killed for sure. Prayers are always a good thing. So is compassion and I have both. BUUUT, sending a message for other parents and people who have children around to NOT be negligent and allow this to happen to children (as they have no choice but to live or otherwise be in the same household) is also the RIGHT thing to do. The world can get mad at Michael Vick for abusing dogs, but we can’t get pissed at the father for allowing a child to be abused by a dog? No, that’s not the way this works. As humans, WE MUST do better. Stop being so damned selfish and doing what we want just because we can. We MUST PUT THE CHILDREN FIRST! ALWAYS! Period! Do what’s best for them. There’s a chance this would never have happened. BUUUT, if there’s even 1% chance that a child could be hurt, (and any VICIOUS breed of dog provides at least a 1% chance of becoming vicious especially towards children), any responsible adult would not put the child in that situation.

    • Sharon Cook

      Let’s just pray and not judge. Praying for the family. And to the Father get on your knees and ask God to forgive you and your going to have to deal with what happen and don’t keep beating yourself up. Let’s pray and keep praying and never do it again. Some ppl think that Pitts are God dogs to have but there not sweetie God bless yours son and your family at the time of need

      • CBaby23

        When I hear of a PREVENTABLE tragedy, especially one that has occurred over and over and over AND it involves a helpless child, I will shout from the mountain tops and I don’t give a damn who doesn’t like it. Call it what you want. I’m not asking for approval. IT’S PAST TIME FOR PARENTS TO STOP HURTING THEIR KIDS! Period! I don’t care if it’s me, my family member or a total stranger. I’m calling you out. Yes, I hurt for the father. This is a tragedy. But, like I tell my 12 yr old grandson, don’t hurt me then say sorry dammit, be careful as hell and JUST DON’T HURT ME! sorry changes nothing. It only means you f’d the hell up to somebody else’s detriment. No disrespect, but I don’t bite my tongue when it comes to a child getting hurt.

      • Miss Cellany

        If the father had let his child play in the middle of the road at risk of being hit by a car would you not judge him?

    • ChocolateCity

      and these stories are not new…yet ppl keep doing the same shhht.

  • Mercedes Bechard

    Pitbulls get a bad rep and yall need to stop judgment. It can happen to anybody with any breed .I have a pit bull and she is the sweetest dog i ever had in my lifetime .Yall should be praying for the family instead of pointing fingers .

    • Vera Shabi

      Well said👏🏻👏🏻 any breed can bite
      It’s not the dogs fault

      • Michelle

        There’s a huge difference between bite and mauled. This breed has been known to be very vicious and unpredictable. Why take that chance with your children?

      • Likewaterforchoc

        It’s the parent’s fault. So point fingers, I shall. Their first responsibility is to their children. This apartment in NY with 7 other people is not ideal living conditions for 2 pit bulls.

      • Miss Cellany

        Any breed can bite. Pit bulls maul and kill instead.

    • SrAgri

      Yet, your pit bull has been selectively bred to be capable of inflicting maximum physical damage and has instinctive reactions that can result in these types of tragedies, specifically their bite-and-shake behavior.

  • Vera Shabi

    I am very sorry for what happened to the child .
    dogs are mans best friend.
    Any animal can bite a pit bull or Pomeranian or a little yorkie and kids can be very annoying to animals by pulling
    Them etc however this Accident should have been prevented the parents should never allow a kid to be alone with a big dog and how can 2 dogs just escape their crate? What kind of crate is that? I am sorry but this to me sounds like parents fault u can’t leave a 5 year old child unsupervised it’s not the dogs fault or child’s fault .
    I wish the child a full recovery 🙏🏻
    God bless.

    • Miss Cellany

      A pomeranian or a yorkie wouldn’t have ripped off his face.

  • Had Enough

    In today’s climate no one has the sack to openly utter the unspoken truth about what has become of pit bulls. For centuries the pit had been a noble breed of dog. Well respected, loyal and docile, much loved by it’s owners and protective of children. It wasn’t until the blacks began favoring them as “street cred” accessories did the genetic makeup of pits began to change (of course, for the worse). Blacks wanting animals as menacing and aggressive as themselves began to breed and train pits to become fighters. Now, the pit bull, depending on how and by whom it was raised, is often a much unpredictable breed. It’s yet another sad reality created by black “cultcha”, one that has unfairly and needlessly brought pits down to the base level of the feral blacks themselves.

    • Brenda Baker

      You sound crazy!!

      • Had Enough

        Can’t (or won’t) accept “da trooff”, eh?

    • Michelle

      Please go away along with your asinine comment. What about some of the feral whites that breed and train these dogs to be fighters as well?

      • Had Enough

        Soooo, two wrongs make a right? That’s what’s wrong with your “people”.

        • Michelle

          We learned this from your people. No go away, your comments have no substance.

    • Miss Cellany

      It was never loyal or docile and protective of children. Colby’s own dog (in 1909) killed his nephew.

    • SrAgri

      This is not true at all. Bad breeding and training may make dangerous dogs worse, but pit bulls were bred to be vicious, brutal fighting dogs.

  • Timfany Mayfield

    I have a Pit and small children, the pit will ripe my face off before the kids, they are her babies. The issue he kept the dogs crated and no social interaction with the kids, we have a huge yard so the dog gets to run around and get fresh air and play with the kids, in the house she is allowed to interact with kids under supervision and its timed, at night she is crated and kept in a seperate room. The problem I see with most pit owners they just want them to have them, keep them locked up no real interaction or training. Our dog is treated like one of the family, and fiance takes her out daily and trains her practicing running obstacles. My mom has a huge pit mixed and she is so spoiled she loves when the grandkids are over, and watches my son like hawk in the yard, if he goes to an area not safe she pushes him down before he gets there, more than likely its a snake bed since my mom lives in the woods

    • Miss Cellany

      There are multiple instances of pits treated exactly like this who turn on their loving families for no reason.

  • Rhonda J

    In New York you may need vicious dogs in your apartment but also I know someone that had a white pitbull that was very jealous of everybody in the family but one person, the dad. I hope that baby was okay that’s so sad may he rest and get better

  • Pamela

    Lord have Mercy!!!!!!!!! Heaven got a sweet angel
    Prayers for the family!!!!!!
    WHY WHY do people have Pit bulls around kids, this is so sad….I feel for the dad and I know he will blame him self for the rest of his life,,,,…..God bless this family