Archive for Friday, September 29, 2006

Victim of dog attack recovering at home

September 29, 2006

A 4-year-old Lansing boy is recovering after a dog attacked him outside his home Thursday.

Lansing Police Chief Steve Wayman said the attack occurred in front of the victim's home, located on the north end of Lansing Heights Townhomes, near Main and West Mary streets.

The dog, a pit bull terrier mix, attacked the child at 3:40 p.m. Thursday as he walked onto his front yard, Wayman said.

The victim, Zachary Thomas, suffered bite marks to his head, neck, shoulder blades and lower back.

He was treated at Saint Joseph Hospital in Leavenworth and released Thursday night.

According to Wayman, witnesses told police the attack stopped when a resident stepped outside her front door and called the dog.

Police apprehended the dog and it was transported to the Leavenworth Animal Control Shelter.

Wayman said citations were issued at the scene to Erica Andrews, 20, whom Wayman said owned the dog.

Andrews lives in an apartment south of the yard where the attack took place, Wayman said.

Wilma Adams, Zachary's maternal grandmother, said she was babysitting the victim, his 5-year-old sister and a 3-year-old cousin Thursday afternoon.

The group planned to walk to a nearby neighbor's house.

Adams, Leavenworth, said she was helping the 3-year-old put on his shoes when Zachary and his sister walked out the front door.

She estimated thirty seconds had passed before she realized something was wrong.

"I heard screaming, and as I turned around, the doorknob started wiggling," she said.

"The horror going through my mind was unbelievable," Adams said.

When she opened the door, she said, a dog was standing at Zachary's side.

"The dog turned its head, looked at me, and shot up to the next building," she said.

Adams said a woman who had driven by ran up to them, saying she had witnessed the incident.

The women found puncture wounds on Zachary's head and neck and called the police.

Adams later drove Zachary to the hospital, where hospital personnel cleaned the wounds and administered antibiotics and pain medication.

She said Zachary and his sister were doing OK today, but they were very scared to be outside.

"This was a totally unprovoked attack. All he did was walk out that door," she said.

Lansing does not outlaw pit bulls, but the city does have a vicious dog ordinance.

The ordinance defines a vicious dog as "any dog which by virtue of its breed, training, characteristics, behavior or other factors the owner or custodian thereof knows or has reason to know has a propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings, domestic pets or livestock."

Owners of vicious dogs are required to maintain an insurance policy of not less than $50,000 per incident against any claim, loss, damage or injury to any human being, any property, domestic pet or livestock resulting from the dog's acts.

In addition, owners of vicious dogs must comply with leash, muzzle, signage and registration restrictions.

Wayman said Andrews was due in Lansing Municipal Court on Nov. 1 to respond to the seven citations, which include:

¢ Dog running at large

¢ No proof of rabies vaccinations

¢ No proof of animal registration

¢ No proof of vicious animal registration

¢ No proof of insurance for a vicious animal

¢ No "beware of dog" signs posted

¢ No leash or muzzle.

Andrews could not be reached for comment.

For more on this story, check out the Oct. 5 edition of The Current.


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