Friday, August 5, 2011

Jackson cops stress awareness after child is attacked by pit bull

By Scott Thomas Anderson, Ledger Dispatch

Jackson police say a 9-year-old girl was viciously attacked by a friend’s pit bull last week, sustaining serious injuries that required a trip to the emergency room.
The incident happened around 11:45 a.m. on July 27, when Jackson Police Officer Jeff Courtney was alerted by 911 dispatchers that a child had been hurt by a dog on Piccardo Lane on the north side of the city. Upon arriving, Courtney was met by the owner of a male pit bull. The man told Courtney that his young daughter’s 9-year-old friend had dropped by his house for a visit. The pit bull was inside the residence at the time. The man said that the visiting 9-year-old had knocked on his door and, when his daughter opened it to greet her, the dog unexpectedly charged past and lunged at the victim.
Biting deep into the girl, the pit bull reportedly was in a frenzy outside the door. Its owner said he heard the attack happening and rushed out to stop it. According to Jackson Police, the owner managed to pull his dog away, but not before it inflicted another significant injury to the victim. The owner then immediately took the 9-year-old to her mother, who brought her to Sutter Amador Hospital for emergency treatment. Courtney noted in his report that the pit bull’s owner was “clearly distraught and stressed over the incident.”
Courtney inspected the pit bull and confirmed that Animal Control officers were on their way to take custody of it. The dog’s biting and tearing at the little girl reportedly caused a major laceration and a gaping avulsion on her leg that required surgical treatment, and possible future operations.
“These were bad wounds,” observed Jackson Police Captain Christy Stidger. “I think it was a pretty traumatic attack for the victim.”
The pit bull was held in quarantine for a period of time. Ultimately, its owner ordered it euthanized.
In 2010, 75 percent of all human fatalities from dog attacks in the United States — 22 reported deaths — were attributed directly to pit bulls, according to a national victims advocacy group. Stidger said that her department hopes the public will view last week’s attack as a cautionary tale. “Obviously, nobody involved in this story wanted something like this to happen,” she explained. “But if you have a dog that might be dangerous toward people, or especially toward children, you really need to take precautions and think about how badly something can go wrong.”
The Jackson Police Officers Association recently brought the young victim of the attack a care package as a reward for how bravely she had handled the incident.

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