Four-year-old Matthew Guess was outside his Arkansas home when the two adult dogs leapt on him and viciously started attacking him right in front of his father.
Now, Dustin Guess is sharing the horrific details of his son's dog attack in the hopes that this will never happen to any other parent or child again.
According to Dustin Guess, both dogs attacked the child simultaneously while he was walking between his house and the neighbor's home.
One dog started dragging Matthew away by his leg as the other attacked his face. Guess was also outside at the time and the horrified dad sprinted to the child's side as he tried to separate his boy from the brutal dogs.
"He said 'Daddy, they had my face,'" he recalled to NWA. "I couldn't win."
Matthew was rushed to Washington Regional Medical Center with severe injuries to his face and leg.
After having surgery, he was transferred to Children's Hospital for an additional operation before reconstruction can begin on his face, according to a Go Fund Me page that was set up to help with the child's medical expenses. "He is still fighting a fever and [in] a lot of pain," Elizabeth Champion, a family friend, wrote.
Matthew still needs multiple surgeries, and in the meantime, his dad is raising awareness.
"I still have his cowboy boots that have pieces of my son's face on them that fell off when I picked him up," Guess told NWA. " .... I don't know how to describe the darkness, the loneliness, the pair and the fear and the anger. I mean it's every emotion at the highest level."
However, he's finding strength from his child. "He still has that grin," Guess said. "It's not gone and it still works."
According to police, only one one of the pit bulls had the required rabies shot and both have been deemed "dangerous." The neighbor has received a citation for violating the state's Rabies Control Act and both dogs were quarantined until one was euthanized.
But that isn't enough for Guess.
"My reality and my understanding to this point now is that there has to be, there has to be, something put in place to protect our children when parents fail, because I was a failed parent myself," Guess said.
Currently in Arkansas, 40 cities have breed-specific legislation that prohibits pit bulls, only allowing them under strict and specific exceptions. However where Guess lives, there aren't any laws restricting ownership of the breed. Washington County Attorney Brian Lester told NWA that Matthew's situation could be what it takes to change that.
"I've already received talk from one of the Justices of the Peace, a member of the Quorum Court, here who questioned this specifically," Lester said. He added, "Any dog in any home, whether it's in a good home or abused could potentially attack somebody .... It's unfortunate because right now there is no fail-proof way to keep this from happening again."
Other parents are sharing similar experiences, and it's unsurprisingly sparking a heated online debate.
"My heart goes out to Matthew and his family. My son was also the victim of a dog attack," one mom wrote on GoFundMe. "It's the most helpless I've ever felt as I was not with him when it happened."
However, others on Facebook are blaming Matthew's parents. "Maybe if people actually did their jobs as parents and watch their kids these kind of things wouldn't happen," one user commented. "Or maybe if they didn't let their kids climb all over the dogs and terrorize them these kind of things wouldn't happen but people don't like taking care of their kids these days, they let video games or cell phones or anything else raise their kids except doing the job themselves."
But others agree with Guess and think action should be taken. "People are more important than pets -- PERIOD! Especially children!!!!! Makes me furious how people can feel no sympathy for a child's needs over an animals!" one person wrote. "We have several pets, and I promise if a child was harmed by one of ours, and I don't care what the situation is, that pet is GONE!!!"
It's safe to say that this issue isn't going to be settled anytime soon, but let's hope that everyone can agree on one thing: This child didn't deserve the violent attack, and nothing but compassion should be sent his way.
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GOFUNDME: Fundraiser for Krista Guess
Created April 7, 2018
by Elizabeth Champion on behalf of Krista Guess
WEST FORK, AR
Matthew is a 4 year old boy from West Fork Ar. He was brutally attacked Thursday morning by their landlord's two pit bulls. He has already had one surgery at Washington Regional. Last night he was transferred to Children's Hospital in Little Rock Ar. He will be under going another surgery this morning and many more after that to reconstruct his face. He is still fighting a fever and a lot of pain. I am a close family friend of Krista and Dustin. Our boys are the same age and best friends. She is linked to this account and has full access to the funds and able to see and able to update.
A message from our little buddy's Dad Dustin Guess.
"Yall look out, there's a new deputy in town!!! Sworn in and official! Thank you to the Washington County sheriff's office for making the long trip here to see and check on our baby boy! He's a proud officer of the law and means business!!"
Matthew is doing very well! His spirits are so high and is one of the strongest little boys ever. He has surgery Friday morning on his face again. Prayers that everything goes smoothly! Thank yall so much for the donations. The family greatly appreciates it so very much and so does Matthew! #Matthewsfight