EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn (WABC) --After a 5-year-old boy was seriously injured after being mauled by one of two pit bulls inside his Brooklyn home, Eyewitness News has learned he took the brunt of the horrific attack to protect his younger siblings.
Just before 7 p.m. Friday on Riverdale Avenue in East New York, witnesses said Jeremiah Rivera's father ran to the street, pleading for help.
Rivera's father says he had taken a prescribed pain pill, and had fallen asleep. He woke up when another child called his name, and found Rivera face down in the bedroom.
Eyewitness News spoke to Rivera's uncle, Mohammad Bostic, who arrived moments later, calling the young boy a hero.
Rivera is in critical condition after he was attacked by one of two dogs inside his East New York home. Bostic says the 5-year-old was trying to protect his younger brother and sister from the pit bull terrier.
"When the dog got loose, he jumped in front of them," Bostic said.
He added that Rivera lost a lot of blood in the attack, needing transfusions - but the family has hope.
"He's sedated with medication, he's sleeping a lot, he's going to have to start the process of trying to figure out how they will reshape his face," adds Bostic.
As for the dogs, they have been taken by Animal Control. Bostic tells Eyewitness News that he never saw the attack coming.
"They were always in the cage - they were always in the cage. The only time they came out of the cage is when we would walk them," he adds.
Bostic says he is looking for prayers for the young boy. He has also launched a GoFundMe page to help.
Rivera's father tells Eyewitness News that he has been by his son's side nonstop ever since the attack, but he says he is also fighting for custody of his two other children - he says the two other children were taken by ACS on Friday.