Update in pit bull attack: Owner says dog was just playing

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 25, 2013 

Marcus Mitchum was out jogging with his wife and their three children Thursday near the 2900 block of Avondale Road when a male pit bull came off its leash and attacked his 8-year-old boy, biting his ear and scratching his back, according to a Columbus Police Department report.

According to Mitchum the attack happened like this:

The three kids, a 4-year-old girl, a 10-year-old boy and the 8-year-old, were slightly ahead of Mitchum and his wife during a jog in their neighborhood. As they neared the end of their run, Elbert Martin's pit bull, which was across the street, got loose from his leash and ran towards the Mitchums, he said.

That's when the pit bull latched himself onto the 8-year-old boy, essentially becoming the boys "backpack," Mitchum said. Jumping on top of the boy, the dog tore a hole in the child's earlobe from the cartilage down.

"His arm is bruised pretty bad, too," Mitchum said.

After the father was able to get the dog off of his son, the dog retreated to its owner, who, Mitchum said, had fallen to the ground when the dog got away. Someone put the dog in a vehicle until Animal Control came.

"The Animal Control people struggled to get the animal," Mitchum said. "It was going crazy in that vehicle. The officer even said if it got out she may have to shoot him."

Martin's story is a little different, first saying the pit bull named "Bobo" was "playing" with the kids.

Martin said Bobo isn't wild.

"He's use to people," Martin said. "I'm not sure if they were teasing him or not, but he started going wild and as he went around, I fell.

"I called him, and he came right back to me. He did jump up, but as far as bite him? I didn't see him bite him."

According to Mitchum, the pit bull will be quarantined for 10 days and released back to Martin if it passes several tests. Martin said Bobo has had his shots. They are expected to be in court sometime in early March.

The father said his boy is doing well now, but at the time "he thought he was going to die" because he was in so much pain. While at The Medical Center for treatment, the 8-year-old was frightened by the large needle needed to numb his ear in efforts to stitch the hole.

Mitchum and his family own two dogs -- a pit bull and a Maltese. Describing his son's mental state after the attacks, Mitchum said he isn't scared of the dogs because he knows their dogs don't act like that.

Mitchum said Martin has never had control of his dog, and it continually antagonizes people in the neighborhood, adding it is always bucking and trying to get loose. He recalled a story from one neighbor where the dog was close to attacking him while he was mowing the lawn.

The father of three said he and his family want to "do the right thing here" and have no ill will toward Martin.

"We live in a tough neighborhood," Mitchum said. "I understand needing a dog but have some control of him."

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