(WMC-TV) - A 2-year-old boy is recovering at LeBonheur Children's Hospital tonight after being attacked by a pit bull terrier. Meanwhile, the dog's owner is fighting to regain custody.
Reggie Johnson told Action News 5 that his dog's fate depends on the child's recovery. He said he has done nothing wrong and he wants to prove that his dogs are not vicious.
"They said if the kid don't make it, he'll [the dog] be put to sleep, but if the kid makes it, I will have a chance of getting him back, but they're charging me so much money for it and I don't think it's right," said the dog's owner Reggie Johnson.
The attack happened over the weekend. Police responded to a 911 call on the 3300 block of Carrington Road.
Neighbors reported that a 2-year-old was bitten by the dog that was chained up in Johnson's backyard.
"You came on private property trespassing in my yard where he stays. He didn't break off the chain and go bite anybody," Johnson explained.
Johnson, who owns three other pit bull terriers, said his dogs are not vicious. When Action News 5 was visiting Johnson's home, a child played with the dogs for the first time. They appeared to be welcoming.
Johnson believes the toddler who was injured provoked his dog.
"You have to hit my dog or beat my dog for them to react like that," said Johnson.
Neighbors said the young child and his siblings are often not supervised.
"He comes over here every day," said Johnson. "I tell him every day, his brother and all, don't go in the backyard. The dogs will bite you. But I've never known them to bite anyone. I just used to say that so nobody will come in my backyard."
The child reportedly received injuries to his head during the attack. He is in critical condition at LeBonheur Children's Hospital.