Local hero: Lockhart resident fends off multi-dog attack
By Wesley Gardner
It began like any other jog for Martindale City Councilmember Mary Paul.
She was on her oft-travelled route from Main Street down through Northwest River Road on Wednesday. She had her headphones in, listening to music with the volume dialed down so she could still remain aware of her surroundings. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
“I’m a runner,” she said. “I run on that road all the time.
“It’s a great place to run.”
Paul said she’s encountered dogs along the route in the past but had never felt threatened. On Wednesday morning, that quickly changed.
“When I got past the creek on Northwest River Road, I was just listening to music as I always do and I looked up and this young man opened the door up and these [two] dogs poured out of the house and ran straight toward me,” said Paul. “They just started grabbing at my arms.
“My tricep was ripped open. My forearm was ripped out. I just kept thinking, ‘I can’t take this anymore.’ They tore open my calves. I didn’t know what to do, so I kept screaming for somebody to help me.”
Luckily, help was just around the corner.
Lockhart resident Marcos Villalobos, who had been staying with his son on Northwest River Road, was driving home from the grocery store on Wednesday when he saw Paul lying down in the grass, screaming as the two dogs attacked her.
“I could see her yelling and screaming,” said Villalobos. “I got there and basically the dogs stopped biting her.
“I asked [the young man] ‘are these your dogs?’ and he wouldn’t answer. I still get emotional because I saw the bites on her arms and legs. It looked like they tore some pieces of meat out of her.”
According to Villalobos, getting out of his vehicle distracted the dogs long enough for Paul to finally manage to be able to call the police. The dogs, who have since been euthanized, attacked Villalobos, as well, but his injuries were mostly restricted to his hands and a small wound on his ankle.
Villalobos said the dogs had always been caged up and fenced in the past.
After receiving the call, Martindale police quickly arrived and transported Paul to the local fire department before eventually taking her to the hospital, where she required more than 230 stitches to mend her arms and legs. Miraculously, no bones were broken and there was no damage caused to any of Paul’s main arteries.
Villalobos, who helped establish the Greater Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, visited Paul at the hospital that evening.
“I cried with her at the hospital,” he said. “I just broke down and cried.
“Envisioning what I saw, it was unbelievable.”
Despite the encounter, Paul said her spirits remain high.
“I have the strongest spirit because I have the love of the Lord in my heart,” said Paul. “I know the Lord is there to protect me and help me and guide me.
“I love that my spirit has not been broken.”
Still, Paul said, attacks like this cannot go without consequences.
“We have to have swift and harsh consequences for dogs who bite, and they need to be put down immediately,” she said.
According to both Paul and Villalobos, a very real friendship has blossomed from the chance encounter.
“He is my new best friend,” Paul said, with a laugh. “He is my hero.
“If he hadn’t come along, they would have torn me up more.”
Martindale officials said the police report for the incident was not available at the time of publication due to an ongoing investigation. Charges have not yet been filed.
Paul currently has a fundraiser page set up on Facebook to assist with the cost of surgery. Those who would like to donate can visit https://bit.ly/2RHB1Cz