By Rad Berky, from Charlotte Observer
A 7-year old Lincoln County boy is recovering after being mauled by a pit bull mix Friday afternoon. Investigators say John Ellis Nixon had gone to see a friend at the house on Rolling View Lane in Pumpkin Center where the dog’s owner, Doug Queen, lives with his family.
His mother says the boy was just outside the door of the house when the dog attacked him.
“Bit him twice in the face and head and backed away, by the grace of God, because pit bulls don’t ordinarily do that,” said Amy Nixon.
Nixon drove her son to Carolinas Medical Center in Lincoln County and from there he was transferred to CMC Main in Charlotte.
“I couldn’t even look at his injuries they were so bad. The whole side of his face was covered in blood,” she said. Lincoln County Animal Control has ordered the dog to be kept in the house for 10 days while there is an investigation. If it is determined the dog is dangerous and a threat, the dog will have to be relocated outside of the county. There was no answer Monday at the Queen’s home, but a dog could be heard barking inside.
Next-door neighbor Casey Still said the dog had growled at her before.
“I’ve always been afraid that dog was going to do something like that,” she said of the dog that she often saw running loose in the yard.
Surgeons were able to save the 7-year-old boy’s eye and his ear that had nearly been torn off by the dog.
On Monday, the boy was back home with his family.
“He slept a good while this morning. He is resilient and he is doing well,” said his mother.
Update January 27, 2011 - The following article is by Diane Turbyfill, Gaston Gazette:
Boy recoverying from dog attack, family wants animal put to sleep
Amy Nixon won’t rest easy until the dog that nearly ripped her son’s ear off is put to sleep.
“We plan to follow the proper measures and see that this dog never has the chance to hurt anyone else. That’s all we can do,” she said.
Nixon’s sons left on their bikes Jan. 20. Not 10 minutes later her son Joshua peddled back in a panic.
Nixon expected a scraped knee or elbow. Then Joshua told her his 7-year-old brother, John Ellis, had been bitten by the neighbor’s dog, Silo.
“I get chills just talking about it. All I could do is get in the truck and go down there,” she said. “I ran with him to the truck, I don’t know how my legs carried me.”
The little blond boy was taken to the nearest hospital and later transferred to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
But the little boy’s resilience was on display Thursday. He was up and darting around the house despite the sewn-up gashes in his head and a fractured cheekbone.
John Ellis Nixon’s plastic surgeon has been pleasantly surprised by his recovery. But the emotional wounds for Amy Nixon may take a little longer to heal.
Nixon and her husband, Michael Nixon, want action.
They want their child’s medical bills paid for, and they want assurance that the shar-pei/pit bull mix that bit their son on the face won’t ever return to the neighborhood.
Lincoln County Animal Services responded to the dog bite call at 3587 Rollingview Lane. They confiscated the dog and continue to hold onto the animal.
Pet owner Doug Queen has requested a hearing so he can get his dog back.
Queen maintains that his dog is not dangerous and that the attack was a fluke.
Silo has been impounded by Animal Services once before for biting a woman inside the house. Queen said the first and second bites were not an indication of a bad animal. The male dog is a family pet, he said.
The dog typically stayed in the house and sometimes would be let out to run in the neighborhood, said Queen.
Nixon said she and other neighbors have asked the Queens to keep the dog restrained. She thought the family kept the dog tied up when children came over.
“We are quite upset that the responsibility hasn’t been taken to keep an aggressive dog at bay,” she said. “We know that the Queens would never have wanted this to have happened. On the other hand they know that they have an aggressive dog.”
If Queen loses his appeal, Silo will not be able to live in Lincoln County.
Nixon said Silo shouldn’t be able to live at all. The animal is unpredictable and aggressive, she said.
“It is our wish that the dog be euthanized,” said Nixon.
The incident happened after school when Nixon’s sons and two little girls went to the Queens’ house to see if one of the children wanted to come out and play.
Silo was outside and growled at one of the children, then bit John Ellis Nixon twice on the head, according to his mother.
The boy suffered a 4-inch cut on the top of his head down to the bone. He has stitches above his eyebrow and below his eye. His cheekbone under his eye socket is fractured and internal stitches were used behind his ear, his mother said.
“We are so blessed that he wasn’t killed or injured worse than he was,” she said. “His ear was nearly ripped off.”
Nixon was thankful to all of the calls, visits and prayers the family has received in the past week. She felt strongly that prayer has helped her son in his recovery.
After the attack, John Ellis Nixon asked his mother if God wanted Silo to attack him.
“I said, ‘No. God is the only reason that dog only bit you twice and backed away,’” she said.
A hearing to determine if Silo will be labeled a dangerous dog has not yet been scheduled. A date will be established that all parties can agree on.
Nixon said she wants to attend the hearing, and once the issue in her neighborhood is addressed she wants to go a step further. The Maiden woman wants to push legislation that would put restrictions on owners of dangerous dogs.