‘I thought I was dead’: Recovery continues for local woman, many others, attacked by dogs in 2023

2023 brought increase in severe attacks, Animal Care Services says

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – With bandages on her head, arms, and legs, Effie Washington struggled to hold back tears as she spoke about the incident that left her both physically and emotionally bruised.

She was one of more than half a dozen people in San Antonio who suffered severe injuries during dog attacks in 2023.

In the November 26 attack on her, Washington was attacked by two loose dogs that initially latched onto her head and neck.

Effie Washington had to undergo numerous surgeries to reattach her ear and close gaping wounds after a November 26 dog attack. (KSAT 12 News)

“One grabbed the ear, pulled me. And the other grabbed me here,” she said, pointing to a bandage on her neck. “That’s when I told God, ‘I can’t scream no more.’”

Washington had to undergo numerous surgeries to reattach her ear and repair torn flesh on her arms.

The attack happened as she walked through her East Side neighborhood, steps away from Joint Base-Ft. Sam Houston on Norfleet Street.

“I thought I was dead. I gave up because of the pain,” she said.

This was her second dog attack this year.

Washington said at the time of the latest incident, she was still healing from dog bite wounds on her legs that took more than 100 stitches to close.

While she ultimately survived both frightening encounters, at least two other people this year did not.

Several others killed or seriously injured in dog attacks in 2023

Ramon Najera, 81, died after being mauled by dogs February 24 on Depla Street on the West Side. Three other people, including his 74-year-old wife and two first responders, also suffered serious bites.

Ramon Najera (Credit: Raymond Najera)

In September, Paul Anthony Striegl, 47, was attacked by two dogs that crawled under his backyard fence in the 9500 block of Heidelberg Street. He died several weeks later.

Although Max De Los Santos, did not lose his life, the 76-year-old did lose a limb. His leg had to be amputated after a dog attack August 16.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in serious type dog bites,” said Shannon Sims, director of San Antonio’s Animal Care Services.

Sims says the overall number of animal bites has not changed this year, but what has is the types of injuries victims have suffered.

In most cases, he said, there is usually a human who should share at least some of the blame.

He said pet owners have to do more to keep their animals on their property.

“I can’t think of a single case this year that was a serious dog bite that was a stray,” Sims said. “Every single one of these animals we’ve been able to attribute to an owner.”

At least one attack this year is believed to have been intentional: Dog euthanized after owner let him attack, bite other man during argument

Marcus Davila, 40, is accused of allowing his dog to attack a 53-year-old man during an argument September 21. He was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Sept. 2021 Mugshot for Marcus Davila (BCSO/KSAT)

Several other dog owners, including Kelly Oshaughnessy, are facing criminal charges for allowing their aggressive dogs to get loose.

As a result of all the attacks, ACS has created a Dangerous Dog Registry. It includes an interactive online map that shows where those dogs, labeled as “dangerous” due to previous attacks, live.

About the Authors

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

Santiago Esparza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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