Lake City boy recovering after being mauled by multiple dogs

Deputies say mother saved 9-year-old son's life; case still under investigation

LAKE CITY, Fla. – A Lake City boy has a long road to a full recovery after authorities said he was mauled by multiple dogs in early September in his own backyard.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office said the case is still under investigation as detectives continue to review photo evidence of 9-year-old Wesley Green's injuries. 

Investigators said it all started when a neighbor's dogs got into Wesley's backyard on Casey Glen Road, and it was his mother who saved his life.

"As Wesley was laying here, he's crying and he said, 'I'm going to die,'" said Michelle Sallie, the boy's mother.

Sallie told News4Jax on Friday that she was on her front porch Sept. 9 when she heard what she though were pigs squealing out back. She said she went to the back of the house, only to see the unthinkable. 

“I see my son where there use to be two trees right there, getting attacked by six dogs. He was army crawling and he had six dogs on top of him," Sallie said. "It was horrific in a sense. He was covered in blood and it looked like a zombie apocalypse movie. It really did.”

Investigators said the mother then jumped into action to save her son as he was being attacked. 

"They knocked me down and they drug my ear first. Then they started biting my arms," Wesley said.

Sallie said her first instinct was to get the dogs off her son. So she said she ran inside, grabbed her rifle and began shooting in the air. 

"I kept pulling the trigger and as I got to this point, all I’m hearing is clicks," Sallie said.


After the dogs retreated back to their yard, Sallie said, she tried taking her son back to the house, but he was bleeding badly. 

“It’s just spurting out with the heartbeat and I’m thinking this is an artery that has been severed," the mother said. 

She said other neighbors stepped in and helped until paramedics could arrive. 

Investigators said the visible injuries inflicted on Wesley were the result of approximately six dogs that attacked the child. His mom says her son suffered serious and extensive injures.

“They had to do a facial reconstruction. They had to reattach his ear. They had to essentially reattach his arm. He had torn muscles," Sallie said. "His medical report is over 60 pages long."

According to a Sheriff's Office report, deputies identified the dogs' owner as 70-year-old David Bencivegna.

At the time of the attack, detectives said, Bencivegna had dozens of dogs living on property he was renting. But several of the animals some how entered the neighbor’s backyard, where the dogs mauled the 9-year-old, detectives said.

After News4Jax spoke with Wesley and Sallie at their Lake City home on Friday, Bencivegna walked over and asked why video was being recorded of the property he was renting. 

When News4Jax told him, he referred all questions to his attorney, Kris Robinson. 

News4Jax reached out to his attorney Friday night, but it was after hours so there was no one available to pick up the phone. 

Now, nearly a month after the attack, Wesley is making a remarkable recovery. But the case remains under investigation. 

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