Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Georgia: Great-grandmother screams for police to 'Shoot it! Shoot it!' after being attacked by her pit bull

GEORGIA -- Rhino the pit bull already had a reputation for attacking children the morning of Nov. 23, when the pit bull turned on his owner and mauled her 6-month-old great-grandson and another toddler boy at the Tara Arms apartments in Brunswick.

Police and firefighters described a scene of bloody carnage when they arrived at Rutha Mae Hunter’s address at 2525 Tara Lane Apartment 246 at 7:24 a.m. on Thanksgiving eve. But Rhino would not relent, withstanding taser shots and pepper spray and turning hostile toward the police and firefighters.

Hunter has owned Rhino since he was six weeks old, according to county records.

The dog stood over a bloodied Hunter, who was lying on the floor and “hysterically yelling, ‘shoot it, shoot it!’” according to the Brunswick police report. Finally, police officer Steven Kretschmar distracted Rhino just long enough for firefighter Richard Bue to quickly grab Hunter and pull her to safety outside the second floor apartment.

Two-year-old Camarion Spradley had been underneath Hunter, and she clung to the boy as Bue pulled them both to safety. Sometime earlier in the attack, a neighbor had managed to grab the baby, Amire Holmes, and remove him from the fray.

Both Amire and Holmes were taken immediately by ambulance to Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital, and later transferred to Memorial University Medical Center Hospital in Savannah.

Hunter was treated for bite wounds to her hands at the Brunswick hospital.

“For some reason this dog would not quit,” said Bue, a Brunswick firefighter since 2005. “This is by far the worst dog bite call I’ve been on. I’m just thankful that we were able to get all three out safely.”

Police closed the door on Rhino, who was lunging for Bue as he pulled Hunter and little Camarion out of the apartment.

“The dog attempted to follow … so I kicked the dog in the face as hard as I could,” Kretschmar wrote in his report. “The dog was knocked back into the apartment and I closed the door, to keep him from attacking anyone else.”

“I just grabbed her and made one big pull with everything I had,” Bue said. “Then I realized the kid was underneath her.”

Glynn County Animal Services officers were called to take Rhino. The dog presently is being held in quarantine as a vicious dog at the animal services complex off of U.S. Highway 17. He has been there before, according to county records. Rhino was quarantined there for 15 days after biting a child that trespassed onto property where the dog was staying, according to records. No complaints were filed on behalf of the victim and Hunter reclaimed him after the 15-day quarantine period.

Animal services issued Hunter a notice Tuesday and she has 15 days to request a vicious dog hearing with the animal control board, should she wish to reclaim him this time.

Rhino had been staying with a son of Hunter’s and this was the first time the dog had been at her apartment, she later told police. Amire is the son of Hunter’s granddaughter, Semetrius Leshay Holmes; Camarion is the son of Ciara Lanise Spradley, a friend of Holmes’, the report said.

“Ms. Hunter stated the dog … has been aggressive before, but never to her,” the report said.

The call came in as a dog bite, and did not indicate how many people were involved. However, Bue suspected it was anything but a routine call enroute, when dispatchers reported that the dog continued to attack.

“I saw numerous bloody items (shoes, a purse, bags) scattered in the hallway,” officer Kretschmar reported upon arrival.

Kretschmar shot the dog once in the chest with a taser, but may not have hit with both wires. He also sprayed pepper spray on it, to little effect, the report said. A second taser shot distracted Rhino briefly.

“Bue dragged the female out of the threshold and into the hallway,” Kretschmar wrote.

Amire suffered lacerations to his face and eye and has since been released from the hospital.

Camarion was mauled extensively, undergoing plastic surgery for “numerous bites and lacerations to his face.” He received staples to close gashes in his head. He was released from the hospital Monday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Camarion appeared quiet but on the mend as he nestled in the arms of his great-grandmother, Johnnie Mae Williams.

“He’s got a ways to go, but thank God he’s OK,” Williams said.

(Golden Isles News - Nov 30, 2016)