HANAMAULU — Keleana Lucas didn’t used to be afraid of pit bulls. After all, her family has three pit bulls that play and sleep with them.
But since a neighbor’s pit bull attacked and bit her in both legs and one hip as she held her young son high so it couldn’t get to him, there’s fear she didn’t know before. The pain, the panic, sets in when she recalls the trauma.
“I never thought I would get bit by a pit bull,” she said.
The Hanamaulu woman, who was on antibiotics after the attack to prevent infection from the bites, is recovering from the April 6 attack that might have been worse if a neighbor hadn’t driven off the dog.
These days, she’s steady on her feet again and feeling better, but when she recalls what happened, she cringes.
She had gone out to get the mail and passed by the neighbor’s front house.
“Usually when I pass their window I am able to hear the dogs barking, but there was no barking and I figured since they are in the process of moving I thought maybe the dogs are probably gone by now,” she wrote.
She had her 8-month-old son, Tryson Lucas-Pardua, in her arms when two small dogs that had nipped at her legs in the past, and which also belonged to the neighbors, ran toward her barking. Lucas started to turn and run back home. She didn’t know the medium-sized pit bull was also after her. Then, she felt it bite the back of her left calf. She stopped.
“I knew if I were to run, the pit bull would probably knock me down and would get to my son, so I turned around, went back to the road and held my son as high in the air as I could.”
The dogs’ caretaker ran out and told Lucas to stand still. It didn’t work, though, as the dog continued biting Lucas, this time in the right calf, then her right hip and right thigh. Lucas, meanwhile, kept holding her son away from the dog. The caretaker tried to stand between Lucas and the dog. That didn’t work either.
“Finally my next-door neighbor came to help me from hearing me screaming for help,” Lucas wrote. “First, he saved my baby, then he grabbed a stick, hitting the road, scaring the pit bull away.”
While Lucas’ neighbor helped her into his yard to check her wounds, her parents called for an ambulance and police.
Lucas was taken to Wilcox Memorial Hospital and was later interviewed by police. The pit bull, she was told, was euthanized. The neighbors, who were in the process of moving out of the house, have since left. Lucas said she was told the neighbors were cited for an animal running at large.
She’s just glad her son is OK.
“I am so thankful for my next-door neighbor for saving me and my baby,” she wrote. “I’m thankful it wasn’t any worse and my baby was safe, and that I was the one that got attacked, not any neighborhood children or my youngest sister.”
The Lucas family has three pit bulls. There’s the dad, JB, the son, Brada, and the baby, Lilinoi. When John Lucas, Keleana’s father, jogs around a field in Hanamaulu, the dogs dash along with him, ahead and behind, tongues hanging out.
John Lucas was raised around pit bulls and suffered a severe bite when he was little.
He was teasing his uncle’s pit bull one day, “when it just jumped and grabbed my head.”
It locked on and wouldn’t let go. His family had to pry the dog’s jaws off the boy’s head, and then had to shoot it.
John Lucas believes pit bulls can be good pets, despite the attacks on him and his daughter.
“It’s just how you take care of the dogs, how you discipline them, how you raise them,” he said.
“And of course, you have to watch them,” Keleana Lucas added.
John Lucas said pit bulls can be unpredictable, so you have to be careful with them. He said JB, the largest and strongest dog, could cause damage if he bit someone, but he never has and Lucas said he never will.
If he took them to a place where there were people, they would slobber on them and play with them.
“That’s how much faith I have in my dogs,” he said.
Keleana Lucas, while she trusts the family dogs, isn’t sure about pit bulls she doesn’t know. The bite marks on her leg are reminders of what they can do.
“I thought it would be easy to get over it,” she said. “It’s not.”