“I think it’s time to show who I am now… I can’t be scared of it.”
A 22-year-old dogsitter who had her face torn off in a vicious attack is ready to show what she looks like now.
Jacqueline Durand was taking care of a client’s “lovely” pets — German Shepard mix Lucy and boxer-pitbull mix Bender — in Dallas on December 23, when they suddenly turned on her.
The two dogs tore off her nose, ears, lips and cheeks to the bone. She was bitten more than 800 times, and lost 30 percent of her blood. Yet somehow, she survived.
In her first televised interview since the horrific mauling — which happened the day before her 22nd birthday — the college student said she is now ready to face the world.
“I feel like I didn’t ask for this. So, I think that it’s time to show who I am now, and I can’t be scared of it,” she told CBS Mornings‘ David Begnaud.
The dogs belonged to Justin and Ashley Bishop, who had taken them in from a rescue home. They told investigators afterwards they had never shown any signs of violence, and they had been comfortable keeping them around their own three children, one of whom is just three yeas old.
Durand herself had met the dogs once before, and described them as “lovely.” But on the night of the attack, they were far from it.
As she arrived at the front door, they burst through it, dragging her from the doorway to the living room, where they pinned her down and tore her face asunder.
“My leg… my arms… my face the most,” she said, recalling the attack. “Especially when I felt the skin hanging from my face… I thought I was gonna die.”
The fact that the door remained open was likely the reason Durand survived the attack at all, as it triggered the security alarm. Nevertheless, Durand lay in the blood-smeared house with the two crazed dogs for a full 37 minutes — and that was after police arrived.
Police body cam footage obtained by CBS shows officers trying to access the home as the enraged animals bark and refuse to let them in; it’s not clear why they don’t immediately shoot the dogs.
“We can’t make entry because of the dogs,” one officer can be heard saying. They can only see Durand’s bloodied legs lying behind the couch, and spend the guts of the hour asking her for intel while the dogs continue to prowl around her.
The footage shows a paramedic finally entering and carrying the victim onto a stretcher. The dogs are later captured, alive.
Durand had to be resuscitated on the trauma table. She was placed in a coma and underwent surgery for seven hours. She has many, many surgeries ahead of her.
Specialists have already begun rebuilding her face, using skin grafts from her buttocks and forehead. She has physical therapy every day, where her mouth is stretched 1mm at a time so she can eat more.
Amazingly, Durand’s dream career has not changed since the attack: to be a dog trainer.
“I want dog owners to know their animals and be able to communicate with their sitters how they are,” she said. “Honestly, I’m speechless. After every meet and greet I had, I always felt the same with those other dogs and they don’t change their attitude from the time that I met them to the time that I go there for the first time.”
As well as the unwavering love of her parents — who describe her as “a miracle” — Durand can also rely on the support of her boyfriend of three years Nathan; he said he feels lucky to be able to repay the love Jacqueline showed him when she stayed by his side during his battle against cancer.
“I’m so grateful that I get the opportunity to show the same level of love and care that she showed me during that time,” he said. “I’m glad I get the chance to. I’m glad that I get to be there for her.”
While the Bishops insist their pets never exhibited any signs of violence, the sign above their door warning of the “crazy dogs” inside says otherwise, according to the Durand’s lawyer Chip Brooker.
“The warning on the front door to me, I think, suggests that the Bishops knew that both of these dogs had acted aggressively to people arriving at the front door,” he said. “We suspect the Bishops knew that. We suspect everybody who came across these dogs, particularly Lucy, knew that.”
A Texas judge later decreed that both animals be euthanized.
The Bishops meanwhile declined an interview, but provided a written statement to CBS.
“We are heartbroken by the tragic incident involving Ms. Durand,” the statement said. “We know that she was injured severely, and are devastated by what she and her family are going through. We would never knowingly put anyone in harm’s way, and were shocked by what happened at our home. Due to pending litigation we have been advised not to give any interviews, however, we want Ms. Durand and her family to know that we fervently pray for her recovery daily.”
According to Durand, they never apologized — or even paid her for dog-sitting that night.