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Child attacked by dog not on leash

An 11-year-old Pearl River County resident was attacked by a dog Friday morning while waiting to get on his school bus.

Jennifer Allday said her 11-year-old grandson was waiting at the school bus stop with his 7-year-old brother when a neighbor’s dog came into her yard. The dog tried to grab the 7-year-old’s shirt, said Allday. When the 11-year-old tried to push his younger brother out of the way, the dog grabbed the older brother by the head, dragged him and shook him, said Allday.

Pearl River County Sheriff’s deputies were called to Allday’s address on Redwood Drive on Friday at 6:18 a.m., in reference to a child being bitten by a dog, said Maj. Marc Ogden. The deputies were advised that the 11-year-old was at a bus stop waiting to go to school when the attack happened, said Ogden. 

Upon arrival, deputies spoke to the child’s parents, and were advised that the dog belonged to neighbors, Ogden said. When deputies arrived and investigated, the neighbors denied that it was their dog that attacked, Ogden said. Deputies advised the victim’s parents to come to the Justice Center in Millard to sign an affidavit against the dog owners under the county’s leash law, said Ogden.

The neighbor later told Allday they plan to surrender the dog to the county’s animal shelter on Wednesday and plan to inform the shelter of the incident so that the animal can be euthanized, said Allday.

After being taken to a hospital for care for his wounds, Allday’s grandson was given 11 staples on the top and back of his head, 18 stitches in his ear and a laceration on his back was sutured, said Allday. He will be absent from school for at least 14 days, she said.

“It could’ve been a lot worse, because if that dog had bit down, it could’ve bitten the carotid artery that runs right through the neck,” said Allday.

The 11-year-old said he intervened because he was determined to protect his younger brother. Allday said both children have been traumatized by the incident, which occurred as the bus pulled up. Pearl River County School District Superintendent Alan Lumpkin said bus driver Susie Mason witnessed the dog attacking the student as she pulled up to the bus stop. Mason dialed 911 and used a broom in an effort to defend children on the bus, said Allday.

Allday said students on the school bus also witnessed the incident. Lumpkin said the District has counselors on staff for any students who witnessed the incident who may need to speak to someone.

After the dog was removed from the boy, it took 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, said the boy’s great-uncle Paul Beckwithe. Beckwithe has first aid training from his time as a volunteer firefighter and slowed the boy’s bleeding while the family waited for the ambulance, said Allday.

Allday and the child’s mother, Kateland Darby, were both frustrated that the county could not seize the dog from the owners.

When a dog bites someone, the owner is required to quarantine the dog for 10 days to see if the animal shows any sign of sickness, said Pearl River County Animal Control Officer Jason Lee. However, the county’s leash law statute gives the Sheriff’s Department no authority to seize an animal from the owner and euthanize it, said Lee.

The leash law does not apply if a person is bit when they are on the dog owner’s property, but victims can file criminal charges or a civil suit for damages in incidents like Friday’s when the dog is loose, said Lee.

It’s unclear if the family has filed an affidavit with Justice Court in relation to the attack.