Pit bulls attack Syrian refugee toddler in NC, owner charged

GREENSBORO, NC (WFMY)  - Charges have been filed against the owner of two pit bulls that attacked a 19-month-old boy in North Carolina on Tuesday.

The dog owner was originally only given four citations for letting the dogs run loose, a violation of the state's leash law. Those four citations totaled $400. 

On Thursday a class one misdemeanor was brought against the owner.  He could now face up to 120 days in jail and be fined in court.

Police say the owner will not be arrested, but was given a court summons.

The toddler was hospitalized in serious condition after the dogs attacked him in his own back yard Tuesday morning.

Around 9:10 a.m., Greensboro Police arrived at a home on Valley View Street and found two dogs lying beside the injured toddler. One of the dogs was shot by an officer for the child's safety. The second dog escaped until animal control officers tracked it down in a shed behind the house.

The dog was transported to the Guilford County Animal Shelter, where it was later euthanized.

Police say the dogs belonged to the boy's next door neighbor. 

Other neighbors, Ronald Knight and Latisha Bullard, witnessed the attack from their back porch.

"I was telling the dog to move away, and he just looked at me like, 'I ain't going nowhere,'" said Knight. "We were throwing onions at the dog and the dog wouldn't leave the baby alone."

Kight added, "We were trying everything we could to stop the dog from biting the baby. But it just seems like we couldn't do anything until the police got here."

The toddler was taken to Brenner Children's Hospital where he's in serious condition, but his injuries are not life-threatening.

Michael Usey, the Pastor at College Park Baptist Church in Greensboro, said the little boy's family came here as refugees from Syria seven months ago.  He said the church has been helping them for the past couple of months.

The family's landlord, Irene Agapion, said the boy's father suffers from a heart condition and collapsed while tending to his injured son. He is also being treated at the hospital.

The victim's family speaks Arabic and doesn't speak English, so police brought in a translator to assist with the investigation.

Both dogs tested negative for rabies, according to Animal Services Director Drew Brinkley. 

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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