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Dennis Jenkins does not think he did anything special. He said he just did what was necessary to rescue two little boys who were being attacked by a 100-pound rottweiler at the Loving Arms Group Daycare Center in Jamaica.
One of the victims, 2-year-old Orin Kitt, was in critical condition Friday after at Mary Immaculate Hospital after undergoing surgery to repair his injuries, a hospital spokeswoman said, but he has since been treated and released.
"I didn't really do anything. I did what I could do to help," said Jenkins, 62, a retired construction worker from Jamaica, as he described how he saved the lives of the boys. "I am not a hero."
What Jenkins did was knock the rottweiler unconscious with a 4-foot-long bed post, which freed 4-year-old Joshua Charles from the grasp of the dog's powerful jaws last Wednesday evening.
About 6 p.m. two stray dogs - a black rottweiler and a white pit bull - ran through the quiet Jamaica neighborhood at 156th Street and 113th Avenue terrorizing both adults and children.
Police said they did not know who owned the dogs, which were not wearing identification tags. The rottweiler was taken by Animal Control for rabies tests. Officers had not been able to find the pit bull as of press time Tuesday.
Jenkins said he was on the block to organize a fishing trip with some friends and to make sure there were enough people to go when he saw the two dogs coming down the street. He said the dogs first went after a woman who was walking down the street carrying her baby.
Jenkins hustled the mother and child into his van and drove them to their home just around the corner. When he returned, he saw some people with rocks at the gate of the chain-link fence surrounding the day care center who were trying to scare away the dogs.
He was not sure how the dogs made their way through the fence and into the day care center, which is in a small house.
Officer George Jensen, an NYPD spokesman, said a woman was walking through the gate outside the center when the rottweiler bolted through the yard and into the building, where it attacked 2-year-old Orin.
The toddler suffered serious cuts on his face, lips and shoulder, Jensen said, and had to undergo reconstructive surgery.
Jensen said the woman hit the dog with a broom and the rottweiler let go of Kitt but grabbed 4-year-old Joshua, who was inside the center. The boy suffered a dog bite on his left arm.
Hearing screams, Jenkins said he saw the dog drag the 4-year-old boy out of the house by his arm. Jenkins picked up the metal bed post and smashed the dog in the head, knocking it unconscious and causing it to release the child's arm.
"Luckily the Department of Sanitation did not pick up the bed post so I had something to work with," he said. "I just reacted to help somebody."
He said he initially thought the dog was dead.
After Jenkins hit the dog, neighbors said they surrounded the unconscious animal with a piece of fence to pen it in for the police and Animal Control. Jenkins said they needed to keep the dog from running away so it could be tested for rabies.
The two injured boys were taken to Mary Immaculate Hospital where Joshua was treated for a wound to his left arm and released, said Debbie Cohn, a spokeswoman for the hospital.
Brenda Ramsey, another spokeswoman, said Orin was also released from the hospital after the weekend after being operated on by oral and plastic surgeons.
It was not known where the children live or how many youngsters attend the day care center. A woman at the center said the police and her lawyer told her not to talk to anybody about the incident.
"Them dogs were going buck wild," said Derrick Montague who lives on 156th Street. "They were messing around in my garbage. No joke, them dogs were hungry."
Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.