A mother fatally stabbed one of two dogs who attacked her 1-year-old daughter and other family members late Sunday in Pico Rivera.
The toddler's grandmother, Margaret Morales, owned the two dogs, and the result of the attack on Sunday has been "traumatic" for the family, the toddler's mother said.
The family told NBC4 that they never thought this could happen to them.
According to the girl's mother, who did not want to show her face on camera due to the severe injuries she sustained from the dogs, the entire attack lasted no more than three or four minutes.
It was when she realized that the dogs were not letting go of her daughter, 1-year-old Ruby Ann Cervantes, that she says she had to pick up a knife to save her daughter's life.
"I came to get him off my daughter," she said, her voice shaking. "It was either him or my daughter, so I chose my daughter. I did whatever I had to do to protect my daughter, because he wouldn't let go of my daughter, so I had to. I feel really bad, but I had to."
Little Ruby had to receive several stitches, and underwent surgery at a local hospital early Monday morning.
The two dogs that attacked her were both blue-nose pit bulls, both 3 years old. The grandmother owned them since they were puppies, and they were from the same litter.
The family added that the normally outdoor dogs had just had a bath and were allowed inside the home. That's when Ruby's mother saw one of the dogs bite into the toddler's leg.
"I thought my daughter was going to die," she told NBC4.
Family members said the girl might have been holding a dog toy at the time.
Ruby's mother, grandmother and aunt all then tried to wrestle the dogs in an attempt to get them off the little girl. Ruby's mother was bitten in the face, and her grandmother was bitten in the arm.
Morales, the grandmother, tearfully listed Ruby's injuries, which included bites to the toddler's leg, ankle and shoulder.
"But she's strong," she said.
Doctors told the family that Ruby will be placed in the ICU once her surgery is complete.
The two dogs had never behaved aggressively toward the little girl before this incident. One of the dogs died after being stabbed, while the other dog was taken by animal control. That dog will be euthanized, according to the family.