A Charlotte, North Carolina, boy will need months to recover after he was badly mauled by a pit bull or pit bull mix.
The boy, 9-year-old Jonathan Robero, of Charlotte, was playing in a park with his friends when a dog jumped the fence and charged them.
Jonathan pushed his friends back, using his body to act as a human shield, and the pit bull-type dog leaped on him, biting his arms, legs, and face.
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The boy’s friends watched in horror as the dog ripped open his legs, arms, and the back of his head. The Daily Mail reports that someone finally pulled the dog off, and Jonathan was rushed to the hospital.
The boy underwent five hours of surgery to treat his wounds.
“I’m blessed that somebody was there with my baby,” the boy’s mother Morgan told the Charlotte Observer.
“My baby’s a hero. He was trying to save his friends.
“His leg was wide open. His arms was wide open.
“He’s in a lot of pain. It was horrible.”
Morgan added that she has two younger children, and that they are “not going back to that park.”
Jonathan’s friend, Donte Young, witnessed the attack and told reporters that it was terrifying.
“I’ve never been this scared before. They just wouldn’t stop. They almost ripped his whole arm off.”
He added that he hopes Jonathan will be out of the hospital pretty soon.
“He’s like my brother.”
Neighbor Patrick Kenty was playing basketball with several others in the park when they witnessed the attack’s aftermath. He tried to help the boy until paramedics could get there. He told WBTV it was a terrible sight, the Charlotte Observer said.
“It was gruesome. Very, very gruesome. I wouldn’t want that on any child, any child at all, any person.”
Jonathan was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with torn muscles and nerves.
On Monday, some of the neighbors who tried to assist Jonathan at the scene of the attack visited him at the hospital to give him an award for bravery.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Animal Care & Control located the 3-year-old dog that was thought to have attacked the boy, and took it to a shelter. It will remain there under rabies quarantine for 10 days, as mandated by the state of North Carolina. Following that time period, it will be held during the pending investigation.
Meanwhile, another pit bull has been taken into custody as of Monday night in connection with the attack. Police, upon questioning witnesses, learned that a second dog was involved. This pit bull is 6 years old and belongs to the same owner.
The owner is new to the area and said his dogs were “freaking out” when they jumped the fence.
Responses within the community run the gamut from blaming the pit bull breed to blaming the dogs’ owner:
“It’s not about hating pit bulls, it’s about protecting the community. There is simply no denying that 1. Pit bulls ARE involved in more attacks on other dogs AND humans than other breeds. 2. That when a pit bull is involved, the chance of it being a serious injury or even death is higher. Just for that reason, I don’t understand why ANYONE would want to own one, especially with children. I can’t find one article where labs, beagles, chihuahuas, etc. have killed someone and if you find one article, again, I can find about 50 or more with pit bulls who do that. If anyone can refute that with some evidence, I’d like to see it. I’m certainly not inflexible in my beliefs.” – Maggie Koller, Charlotte, North Carolina
“This is a tragedy for everyone involved. No child should be bitten by a dog. If you have ever read about moving or taking a new dog home there are some steps that should be taken to lessen the anxiety a dog will have. The other thing the news article did not mention how high the fence was. 6ft is the minium for most of the bully breeds… depending on how the dog is built. One of my dogs could not get over a 3 ft fence, while the male when he was young got over my six foot fence ONCE.” – Bob Cronk, Works at Volunteer at the Animal Orphnage
“Pit bull owners aren’t objective but the facts speak for themselves. They kill people for no reason. Doesn’t matter if they were raised by Hannibal Lectern (sic), which they aren’t! By definition you can’t predict unpredictability. They aren’t even the best guard dogs.” – Nick Dunkin, University of North Carolina Asheville
Jonathan is currently in a body cast, his family said. He will remain in the hospital for two or three months.
[Image via Sergey Lavrentev/Shutterstock]