Monday, June 05, 2006

Child mauled Friday

Mayor weighs law on pit bulls
Child mauled Friday is set for more surgery
By Kevin O'Neal

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson is considering an ordinance that would try to curb attacks by pit bulls, his spokesman said Wednesday.

I will post the picture when Blogger allows me to.
VICTIM: Amaya Hess, 2, whose injuries could leave her blind in at least one eye, is scheduled for surgery today to repair her scalp. - Photo provided by family

The announcement came as the family of Amaya Hess for the first time described the 2-year-old's struggle to survive an attack last week that could leave her blind in at least one eye.
She faces more surgery today. Doctors at Riley Hospital for Children are expected to take a muscle from her back and transfer it to her scalp, according to the girl's attorney and family. It's one of many operations expected for the child, who was attacked Friday in the 1300 block of South Belmont Avenue on Indianapolis' Near Westside.

"Should we look into creating a law that can prevent attacks from happening?" said Justin Ohlemiller, spokesman for Peterson, who said it was too soon to talk about specific rules. "There are other cities like Denver and Toledo that have breed-specific laws in effect."

An advocate for the breed, however, quickly criticized the possibility.

"I would be very much against that -- it's a knee-jerk reaction," said Amy Lyon, owner of two male pit bulls and a member of the Indy Pit Crew club of pit bull owners. "The dogs aren't the problem, it's the people. . . . All dogs, in the wrong hands, can be dangerous."

The attack unfolded as Amaya sat in a stroller, her mother said.

"It happened really fast," said Bobbie Tomlin, 20. "I looked down, and the dog was on her."

She had been walking with her daughters through the residential neighborhood, Tomlin said, and stopped on Belmont at the house where Michael Hamilton lived. Hamilton opened a door, and the dog ran from the house and attacked her daughter.

The assault was so intense that a claw hammer was needed to pry the dog's jaws off the girl, Tomlin and her attorney, Shawn M. Schilling, said.

Amaya is heavily sedated, and Tomlin said she has been able to only barely acknowledge her mother's presence.

The dog, named Ozzie, has been euthanized, said Leslie Fatum, administrator of Indianapolis Animal Care and Control. A second pit bill mix, named Early, is being held by the agency because of squalid conditions in the area where the animal was kept. "We felt it was not healthy for the dog to be kept there," said Media Wilson, community outreach coordinator for Animal Care and Control.

Any decision on criminal charges against the dogs' owner will not come before Friday, according to Roger Rayl of the Marion County prosecutor's office. He said the prosecutor first needs to receive a report from the animal control agency before considering charges.

Even more time will pass before Amaya's family will decide whether they will sue. Schilling said they're waiting to clear up any questions about the dog's ownership.

Dog that mauled toddler to be put to death today
By Vic Ryckaert

A dog that mauled a toddler last week at a Near-Westside home will be put to death today, the dog's owner and an animal control official said.

Mark Hamilton, 44, voluntarily surrendered his dog Ozzie to Marion County Animal Care and Control, a move that allows officials to kill the animal.

The dog, a pit-bull mix, attacked 18-month-old Amaya Hess on Friday, sending the child to the hospital with critical injuries to her face and eyes. In a report describing the mauling, Indianapolis Police Officer Lawrence Hoskins said "half of the child's face was missing."

"He don't like strangers, but I never saw him do anything like that," Hamilton said Tuesday. "If I would even imagine he could do something like that, I would have gotten rid of him a long time ago."

A second pit-bull mix, Early, also was taken from the home. Her fate has yet to be decided.

Animal Care and Control officers on Tuesday issued nine citations to Hamilton and two more to a nephew, Michael Hamilton. The citations were in connection with the injuries to Amaya and violations involving the care of the dogs.

The men also are under investigation for possible criminal charges stemming from the attack. Detective Karl Willis said he is still gathering evidence and hopes to meet with prosecutors by Friday. Willis also is investigating allegations that the same dog bit two other people within the past year.

"Why anybody would keep a dog around that's predisposed to biting people is beyond me," Willis said.

Yadira Mejia, 32, told police the animal bit her on July 2. According to a police report, Mejia said she was knocking on the door when it opened and the animal bit her hand.

In November, Martha Short said the animal bit her on the stomach as she was walking on the sidewalk.

On Friday, police said, Amaya and her mother, Bobbie Tomlin, 20, went into the front yard of a duplex in the 1300 block of South Belmont Avenue to speak with Michael Hamilton.

He went inside to get a cigarette for Tomlin and left the front door open. Ozzie was supposed to be locked in a cage, he told an animal control officer, but somehow the dog escaped to attack the toddler.

Michael Hamilton hit the dog several times with a hammer and a piece of wood before he managed to pry its powerful jaws from the child, an animal control officer said in a report.

Efforts to reach the child's family were unsuccessful. They are scheduled to discuss Amaya's health today at Riley Hospital for Children.


Blogger Conners said...

That is soooo sad!!! Another tragic accident and another stupid owners!
For that dog to be human aggressive like that wasn't natural. I think authorities should look into this case closer and find out why this dog went after people. Either it was trained or so inner bred it was crazy.
The owner sure couldn't contain it properly, that's for sure!

10:51 AM  
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2:52 AM  

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