By Tara Vreeland, KOTV
A dog that attacked a five-year-old Muskogee boy has been put down.
The one-year-old pit bull brutally attacked Dalton Ballentine Monday while he was playing in his front yard. Ballentine, 5, was playing with a friend when the pit bull, which lived nearby, got out.
Officer Robert Godfrey said the incident happened quickly.
"Another little boy said 'you'd better run!' Of course he took off running. As soon as he did, the dog attacked him," he said.
Running away proved to be a mistake. The dog attacked Dalton.
"Dogs will resort back to their primal instincts. It don't matter if it's a Poodle or a Chihuahua, a Great Dane or whatever they will resort to that and take off after anything that takes off running," Officer Godfrey said.
Godfrey said what Dalton did next may have made the difference between life or death.
"From the stories that I got from the parents, and witnesses, the child balled up into a ball and that's probably what saved him. Because it protected vital areas," he said.
But Dalton didn't escape without injury.
"He was severely bitten in the back. A big hunk of his back was missing," Officer Godfrey said.
Dalton's family did not want to speak with News On 6. Godfrey said the owners of the pit bull turned the dog over immediately.
He said the male dog was about a year old and weighed 60 pounds.
"If one of these dogs do get out and kill somebody, those are criminal charges. I'm sure you could serve time in the penitentiary for that," Officer Godfrey said.
The dog's owners were fined more than $700.