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Neighbor rescues 3-year-old boy being mauled by 2 pit bulls

Updated: July 5, 2013 2:45PM

Willie Riley was cooking chicken gizzards and watching “Law and Order” when a frantic girl banged on his back door yelling that dogs were attacking her 3-year-old brother.

As Riley hopped a fence to reach the boy’s house about 3:30 p.m. Monday, he heard him screaming.

“I was nervous to go in there,” said Riley, who sought help at a fire station across the street from the home in the 7300 block of South Kingston in the South Shore neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the firefighter who came to the door was the sole firefighter in the building. All other firefighters were on a run. He told Riley to do the best he could and called for police and an ambulance.

Riley, 48, entered the house where the boy was being attacked and, armed with a wooden plank, walked into the rear dining room. He found two pit bulls, each weighing more than 150 pounds, biting the boy.

“I just saw two dogs at the boy trying to pull him apart . . . one biting his leg, the other biting his ear and head,” said Riley, who used the plank to pry the dogs off the boy.

“He got up and walked out with me and then I carried him to the fire station. He was a strong little boy,” said Riley, who fended off the dogs as he left the room and shut the door behind him.

Firefighters and paramedics arrived at the firehouse about the same time Riley showed up with the boy, said Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.

“He was torn up pretty good,” Fire Capt. Bob Martin said. “A lot of bites and tears everywhere, ears, torso, legs. He probably saved the 3-year-old’s life.”

The boy was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, authorities said.

Riley said the boy was home alone with his three sisters when the attack occurred. The siblings were from out of town visiting an aunt, he said.

Langford said the boy apparently wandered in on the dogs, one of which may have been agitated after having recently given birth.

Riley, an unemployed construction worker, didn’t embrace the title of hero Monday evening.

“I feel that if I need some help, somebody should help me too, that’s all,” he said.

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