Jeremiah Rivera

Jeremiah Rivera (Photo via Handout: Milton Signman Walters)

*Joel Rivera, the father of a 5-year-old Brooklyn boy who was mauled by a pit bull wept as he recalled seeing the horrific injuries to his son’s face.

Rivera said when he woke up on Friday, Feb. 17, he found his 5-year-old son on the living room floor choking on his own blood. Jeremiah Rivera had been mauled by one of his dad’s pit bulls, and of course, Joel blames himself.

“He didn’t have a face, just teeth, that was all I could see. And the smell of raw meat,” Joel says tearfully to New York Daily News. One of his two dogs escaped its crate in their East New York home, and little Joel was attacked while trying to protect his siblings.

“He wasn’t breathing. I yelled at him and said, ‘Come back! I love you, come back! I got you, come back to Daddy!’ Rivera says.

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Jeremiah Rivera

image via twitter

When he found his son, Joel ran into the street yelling and screaming for help before fainting on the stoop, notes

“The last time I had his blood on me was when I cut his umbilical cord. I am responsible for this. This is my fault. ‘Man’s best friend?’ How you going to do this to my son and be called man’s best friend?”

Jeremiah lives in the Brooklyn apartment with his father, mother and two sisters, 8 and one-year-old. He is currently in critical but stable condition at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Glen Oaks, Queens, where he received about 2,000 stitches.

“The last thing I ate was grilled cheese with my kids two days ago,” Joel sobs. “I can’t eat. I close my eyes and I see [Jeremiah] smiling. Singing happy birthday [to his sister]. I just want to hear him laugh again.”

Animal Care and Control have custody of both dogs.