Friday, July 1, 2011

No charges will be filed against owner of pit bulls

By Chuck Mobley, Savannah Morning News

A 19-year-old woman whose parents owned two pit bulls that attacked children playing in a park two weeks ago will not be charged in the incident, a Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police spokesman said Friday.
Metro criminal investigators presented their findings to the Chatham County district attorney's office and were told that no Georgia statutes apply to the case, said Julian Miller.
The dogs escaped from the car being driven by the 19-year-old woman on the evening of June 21 when her 11-year-old sister opened one of the doors and was unable to close it before they pushed their way out, said Miller. The pit bulls made their way to nearby Treat Park and rushed at the children playing there.
Most of the children were able to climb out of harm's way, but one of them, 7-year-old Javon Roberson was bitten in the face. A rising first-grader at Shuman Elementary School, he's been in Memorial University Medical Center since that evening.
Javon was operated on Thursday, one of several procedures to repair injuries to his face, and is doing much better, his mother said Friday.
"He's off the breathing tube," said Tracie Roberson, and "they're trying to get him to walk."
Three days after Javon suffered his injuries, the woman went to the police and told detectives that the dogs had escaped from the car as she was opening a gate to a relative's yard, said Miller. The dogs were going to be held there while her family was moving.
Detective Kenneth Whitcomb said the veterinarian who examined the two pit bulls after the attack said he had found no indication that they had been involved in fighting, nor any evidence of abuse or aggression, said Miller.
The woman said she and her sister searched for the dogs after they'd bolted from the car but left when they heard gunfire. Two men, who were trying to save the children from the dogs, shot one of the pit bulls in the head.
The woman's account does not ring true with Roberson, who said Friday that she didn't believe "half" of it. "I do believe that they got scared and ran," said Roberson, but they should have come back the next day.
One of the dogs was euthanized by animal control officers on the night of the attack. The other pit bull was tranquilized and captured the next morning. It has been held for observation since, said Miller, and its fate has not been decided.
In the wake of the attack, City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney has told animal control officers to review city dog ordinances to see whether they need to be strengthened.

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