Father: Pit bull ripped through son's ear

spedersen@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 25, 2013 

Marcus Mitchum was jogging with his wife and three children Thursday when a pit bull escaped its leash and attacked his 8-year-old son near the 2900 block of Avondale Road, according to Columbus police.

Mitchum said the dog sunk its teeth into his son's earlobe, ripping through it. The dog's owner, Elbert Martin, said the dog was only playing.

According to Mitchum, the incident happened like this:

His 4-year-old girl, 10-year-old boy and 8-year-old boy were slightly ahead of him and his wife as they neared the end of their run through the neighborhood. That's when Martin's pit bull, which was across the street, got loose from the leash Martin was holding and charged at them, he said. Martin fell as the dog got away, the father said.

The dog latched onto the 8-year-old, biting his ear and essentially becoming the boy's "backpack," Mitchum said. The dog tore a hole in the child's earlobe from the cartilage down, he said.

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

After the father pulled the dog off, the pit bull retreated to its owner, Mitchum said. Someone put the dog in an automobile until Columbus 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 tells a different story: The pit bull named "Bobo" was "playing" with the kids, he said.

"He's used to people," said Martin, 58. "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."

The pit bull will be quarantined for 10 days and released back to Martin if it's found to be disease-free, Mitchum said. Martin said Bobo has had rabies shots.

The case is expected to go to court 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, the father said.

Mitchum and his family own two dogs -- a pit bull and a Maltese.

His son is not frightened by the family pets, Mitchum said.

Mitchum said Martin has never had control of his dog, and it continually antagonizes people in the neighborhood, always bucking and trying to get loose.

He and his family want to "do the right thing here," and they have no ill will toward Martin, he said.

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

-- Tiffany Stevens contributed to this report.

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