7-year-old boy recovering from brutal dog attack in Parker County

Cassandra Ware nervously waited for her 7-year-old son at the bus stop Tuesday afternoon.

Last month the boy was brutally attacked by a neighbor’s dog while walking the short distance to his home in Parker County, the woman said.

It was Conner Landers’ first full day back in school, and Wares says the boy was excited. But she was seized with anxiety.

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“I’m terrified of losing sight of him,” Ware told The Dallas Morning News on Tuesday. “Today I had panic attacks.”

That same day, a 49-year-old woman was released on bail after authorities say her dog, a boxer-bullmastiff mix, attacked Conner on Jan. 21.

The county sheriff’s office says Patti Jean Bell-Neveling was arrested Monday and charged with attack by a dog resulting in serious bodily injury.

He was released on $10,000 bond, according to jail records.

Due to the severity of the attack, the dog was euthanized last week after being quarantined, the Parker County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

The animal tested negative for rabies.

Ware said it’s not the dog’s breed that should be blamed, but the owner.

“I have met hundreds of pit bulls who are sweet little babies; and boxers too,” Ware said.

Ware’s son spent more than three hours in surgery to repair nerve damage to his face and more than two dozen indentations.

The single mother said her son was “torn apart.”

The dog left gashes on his face and arms, as well as puncture wounds on his scalp and neck, he said.

Weeks after the attack, her son’s body and nerves still ache.

“If he bumps into his arm, or touches it, or grabs it really fast, he screams from the stab of pain,” Ware said.

The dog also broke Conner’s mouth, so they put stitches inside and out, he said.

More surgeries are planned, along with physical therapy and help from an occupational therapist to help him regain movement in his arm, he said.

“He’s having to learn to write again,” Ware said.

He assured that Conner has been “strong, brave and resilient”, but is still struggling mentally.

“When he sees an unknown dog, even if it’s a service dog, he starts to have a panic attack,” he said.

“His heart races, his breathing hits and he starts screaming, and then it’s really hard for him to calm down.”

Conner got off his school bus and was walking home in the 1400 block of Lynock Lane near Reno when the brown-and-black dog attacked the boy after escaping from his fenced-in yard, sheriff’s officials said in a news release.

A neighbor heard her dogs “making a ruckus” and went outside to see what they were barking at.

That’s when he saw the dog attacking Conner in front of his home, according to deputies.

The first time the neighbor tried to stop the attack, the dog lunged at her and she backed into her yard.

Then the dog started dragging Conner down the street; That’s when she ran up to the dog and hit it with a stick to free Conner, deputies said in the statement.

“We commend Conner’s neighbor for her bravery and quick action in saving him,” said Sheriff Russ Authier. “We pray that Conner recovers soon.”

Conner was taken to a hospital in Fort Worth, where he spent several days. The doctors recognized the neighbor for having saved her life.

“The doctors said if it was seconds later, he wouldn’t be here right now,” Ware said. “He wouldn’t be running around… he wouldn’t be around anymore.”

He added that the support he has received from the community has been “totally amazing.”

“I am extremely grateful for all the love and support I have received from the community, from Parker County Animal Control and the Parker County Sheriff…and my neighbor who saved my son’s life,” Ware said.

Animal Control Supervisor Karen Kessler opened a fundraising account to help pay for Conner’s medical bills and reward the neighbor for saving the boy’s life.

The neighbor received $500.

“We just wanted to do something to help Conner on his long road to recovery,” Kessler said.

Ware, who also has a daughter and stepson, both 13, and a stepdaughter, 17, said she took days off work to care for Conner.

Ware has made multiple trips from her home outside Azle to downtown Fort Worth to take her son to his doctor’s appointments.

He said donations for his son’s care will “help him immensely.”

Kessler opened an account for Conner at Plains Capital Bank 1001 Santa Fe Drive in Weatherford.

If you would like to contribute, please call the bank at (817) 598-5400 and donate to the Conner Lander Benefit Account

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7-year-old boy recovering from brutal dog attack in Parker County

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