A St. Charles, Missouri, family’s pit bull attacked a 22-month-old toddler girl, leaving her in critical condition.
The child’s grandmother was babysitting the toddler, along with her older brothers, aged 5 and 8. The pit bull, which is normally kept shut up in a separate room, somehow got loose sometime after the little girl was fed and laid down for the evening. The pit bull, which weighed 80 pounds, attacked the child around 6:45 pm. The attack was reportedly unprovoked.
According to investigators, the grandmother tried to get the pit bull to release the child, and lost two fingertips from each hand in the process. Unable to get the pit bull to release the toddler, the grandmother urged the older two children to get out of the house and run next door for help.
A neighbor responded, and had to stab the pit bull a reported seven times before the dog would release the child.
The little girl was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in St. Charles, and then transferred to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, where she remains in critical condition. The toddler was reportedly bit all over her body, but also sustained a neck wound, which is her most serious injury.
According to KSDK Channel 5 News, the pit bull has already been euthanized on Friday morning, at the request of the family. No charges are expected to be filed, as the authorities say this is simply a tragic accident.
Pit bulls are a controversial breed. Owners of the dogs often insist that the breed is loyal, sweet, playful, and that pit bull attacks are the result of bad ownership rather than a bred tendency towards violence. In fact, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASCPA) claims that “a well-socialized and well-trained pit bull is one of the most delightful, intelligent, and gentle dogs imaginable.”
But according to a report by Time magazine, pit bulls are responsible for an astounding 68 percent of all reported dog attacks, and 52 percent of all dog-related deaths that have occurred since 1982… yet, as a breed, they only make up 6 percent of the total dog population.
To put it even more in perspective, in the U.S., every 14 days, one person is killed by a pit bull, and two people are injured by a pit bull daily. These sort of statistics have prompted breed bans and restrictions in many places. Others are advocating for a breed-specific sterilization program as a humane way to help control the growing pit bull population, since many of these dogs end up in shelters and are often euthanized at a much higher percentage than the admission rate — a plan endorsed even by PETA.