A 4-year-old Texas boy was playing ball with his cousin outside at his aunt’s house on Friday when he became the victim of a brutal dog attack.

According to a Facebook post the boy’s dad wrote which was shared by the boy’s grandmother, Zion Alexander was enjoying his time playing and getting affectionate licks from the aunt’s pit bulls when suddenly they attacked.

His family was inside the home when the 4-year-old’s horrified cousin burst in.

Zion’s mother, Tiffany McHan, told People:

“His cousin came running to the back door and was saying, ‘The dogs are eating Zion!’ My husband ran out the door screaming, ‘No! No!’ I ran behind him and there were like five dogs on top of my son.”

The family quickly ran outside and started to pull the dogs off the little boy.

According to grandmother Rochele Denise Howard’s shared post, Zion’s dad, Trevion Alexander, said that he was “picking dogs up and body slamming them.” In fact, he said their teeth were stained red with Zion’s blood.

Alexander was bitten several times as he pulled the dogs off his son, but managed to get the boy free. According to People, McHan said:

“There was blood everywhere. I didn’t think he was gonna make it. I remember him telling me, ‘Mommy, I’m okay. I’m okay.’”

Zion was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for a skull fracture and severe lacerations to his face. McHan said that the boy’s ears were nearly torn off by the dogs.

Though he is currently recovering in the hospital, his mom said he’s upset “because he knows he doesn’t look the same,” People reported.

While it’s unclear why the boy was playing so close to the pit bulls, the parents say they don’t blame the aunt who owns them for the attack.

McHan said the owner has been “distraught and hurting” since the incident, and they don’t plan to press charges for now.

According to Dogs Bite, 13 children were killed by dog attacks in the U.S in 2016. Pit bulls and rottweilers were the most common aggressors.

To reduce the likelihood of an attack, parents should always supervise children when they’re around dogs and teach kids how to safely interact with them, Doggone Safe advised.

Zion’s grandmother said that she is just thankful that he grandson’s life was spared and has set up a GoFundMe to help the family pay for living expenses while the boy remains in the hospital.

Little Zion will likely have to undergo several more surgeries to fix the damage, but in a new post, his grandmother said that he’s gaining strength every day.

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