London Johnson walks through the backyard of her Bostwick Avenue home every day. The yard connects the building she lives in with her grandmother's apartment and is considered a safe place to play in one of the city's tougher neighborhoods.
But on Sunday afternoon, London was viciously attacked by two pit bulls that got loose from a nearby yard. The 5-year-old was bitten so hard, doctors thought she was going to lose her leg. It was her 12-year-old brother, Jahmir, who is being hailed a hero for coming to his sister's help.
"These two dogs, came and just ran up, we don't know where they came from, they just started chasing my three little cousins, brother, and sister" Jahmir said.
The incident, which has left London hospitalized at Jersey City Medical Center, is allegedly the third time the owner's dogs have attacked people, police said.
Jahmir, a fifth grade student at School 40, said at least one dog latched onto London's leg while he told his younger brother Tahir, 8, to jump a fence to get away from the dogs.
As the children were screaming for help, a neighbor threw his cane out of a window so Jahmir could use it to get the dog off London.
Their mother, Tyiesha Johnson, was inside cooking and realized the yelling wasn't the normal sound of children playing in the yard. When she knew her children were in trouble, she ran out of the house without her shoes to fight off the dogs, she said.
Johnson estimates the dogs were attacking for about five minutes before running back to a yard on Myrtle Avenue. Her oldest son carried London inside and police arrived at the building at about 3:30 p.m.
Police said there was a "pool of blood" in the backyard and saw three dogs were going in and out of the Myrtle Avenue home THROUGH A WINDOW. Two of the dogs still had blood on their mouths, throats, and chests, according to a police report from the incident.
When animal control arrived to help secure the dogs, one of the officers immediately recognized the animals from previous attacks. The owner, 37-year-old James Grant, was arrested on 12 open warrants, including six failures to appear in court on charges of having unlicensed dogs, according to a police report.
Grant's dogs have attacked people at least two other times, causing "serious bleeding," with the victims described as "bleeding very badly." He was issued 10 summonses for not properly licensing and caring for vicious dogs, police said.
At least one of the dogs involved in Sunday's attack has been euthanized, city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said.
Johnson said the dogs bit so hard that her daughter's leg and knee were broken. She wants dogs owners to be held accountable when their animals brutally attack, especially young children.
"I want to make sure this doesn't happen to any more kids," Johnson said.
Last month, an 8-year-old boy had his ear bitten off by a pit bull while he played in a backyard on Ocean Avenue. Johnson hopes to start a petition to keep aggressive animals away from children.
Johnson said the children are shaken up from the attack, with some having nightmares of dogs biting them. London had a second surgery on Tuesday morning and doctors are hopeful she will be released later this week, Johnson said.
London, a kindergarten student, faces weeks of physical therapy and it's still not clear how long it will take before she has movement in her leg again, her mother said.
But despite the serious injuries, Johnson fears it could have been much worse had Jahmir not been there to protect his little sister.
"If it weren't for him, I don't think she would have made it," Johnson said while standing next to a walkway stained with her daughter's blood.
Asked how it feels to be a hero big brother, Jahmir -- who was also treated at the hospital for dog bites to his thigh -- smirked: "It feels good."