By Austin Ashlock
Forum News Service
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A Fargo man is recovering from injuries after being attacked by a pack of large dogs early Sunday morning near Warsaw in northeast North Dakota.
John Munoz, 19, was walking to a friend’s home in rural Warsaw when he heard barks and the sound of dogs coming his way in the dark.
“There was about eight or nine of them, and the only one I could identify was a Rottweiler. Once they ripped my duffle bag from my hands, I knew I was going to be attacked,” Munoz said. “Before I knew it, they got me to the ground and were playing tug of war with me. I thought I was going to die.”
Munoz said the dogs had him on the ground for five to 10 minutes until he managed to make his way to the edge of the road, where he pulled out handfuls of weed, waving the weed at the dogs to scare them away.
He proceeded slowly down the road toward his girlfriend’s father’s farm a mile down the road, all the while fending the dogs off with the weed, he said. “The dogs continued to attack me until I got to the farm, which was about 30 or 45 minutes later.”
There, he woke up one of the farm workers, who took him to Altru Health System in Grand Forks.
The Walsh County Sheriff’s Office and the State’s Attorney’s Office both confirmed on Monday that an investigation is underway but would not provide any information about the incident.
According to Munoz, he received countless stitches from the dog’s attacks, including stitches on the back of his head.
“They had bitten me so bad that I’ve had difficulty lifting my arms,” he said. “The only thing keeping me going right now is the medication.”
Munoz was released from Altru on Sunday afternoon.
The identity of the owner of the dogs has not been verified by law enforcement.
However, Munoz said he had heard from friends and people in Warsaw that the owner often kept the dogs unrestrained.
Munoz said he plans on filing a civil suit against the owner.
“This caused me so much physical and emotional pain and I am lucky to be alive, but I want to get a lot of this (lawsuit),” he said. “I’m glad this happened to me and I lived so I can do something so this never has to happen to anyone else. This can be a way to spread awareness.”
Munoz said he heard the dogs were taken from the owner Monday and placed under quarantine to see if they have rabies. He was told it takes as many as 14 days before symptoms appear, he said.
Reporter Will Beaton contributed to this report.