Authorities say a 3-year-old girl has been attacked by a pit bull while walking down a Port Royal street with her baby sitter. Police say the dog had the child's head in its mouth when an officer arrived moments after the attack around 8 a.m. Thursday.
Investigators say the officer kicked the dog until it released the child, then shot the animal to death when it lunged toward the girl again.
Authorities say the girl was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Police say they plan to charge the dog's owner when the person is identified.
Update February 18, 2011 - The following article is by Mary Hashemi, WSAV:
Owner of Pit Bull that Attacked 3-Year-Old Turns Himself In
Police say the owner of a pit bull that mauled a child Thursday in Port Royal has turned himself in.
Kevin Ramsey, Sr. faces charges after his dog brutally attacked a 3-year-old girl that was walking with her baby sitter early Thursday morning, police say.
Update February 20, 2011 - The following article is by Jaime Dailey, from WMBF:
Lowcountry toddler attacked by pit bull
What happened on Wayside Lane in the Shell Point neighborhood Thursday morning is something the one girl's family and Melinda Haskell will never forget.
"The dog just kept coming back, biting the baby's head, just would leave off," Haskell said.
She lives nearby and was loading her children into the car when she witnessed the brutal attack.
"The dog had the child's head in its mouth," Haskell said. "The lady was grabbing the feet and trying to get the baby away from the dog, but the dog kept grabbing and biting at her head and face."
She says she immediately took action, grabbing a nearby stick to help free the little girl.
"I put the stick out before it jumped again," Haskell said. "I took it off a couple of times and then I noticed the police got here and they started running out."
"If Chris Able hadn't gotten there when he did, I don't think this child would have survived the attack," said Staff Sgt. Andre Massey. "He kicked and kicked until finally the dog released. Once the dog released and backed off, then he re-engaged back on the child again. Chris started kicking again and when he backed off and re-engaged again, that's when he ended up shooting and killing the dog."
"But this isn't the first time authorities have been notified about this dog. Back in January, the Beaufort County Animal Control picked the dog up after neighbors complained. Then three weeks ago, the dog was picked up again."
While this time things were much worse, Beaufort County Animal Control says in the other two previous cases, the dog was just running loose and wasn't aggressive.
Haskell said she has only lived here a short time and never saw the dog before the attack, but said the mother of the 3-year-old victim has.
"What she told me is that these dogs have been in her house, she's called police numerous times and told them about the dogs," said Melinda. "After that second time, the dog should have never have been returned to the owner because they can't take care of the dog."
Port Royal police are pursuing criminal charges against the owner of the pit bull, but those charges are still pending.
The condition of the girl is still unknown at this time.
Owner of dog that attacked child turns himself in to police - Island Packet