Dog attack leaves child with multiple stitches - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Dog attack leaves child with multiple stitches

(WMC-TV) - A little boy nearly had his ear bitten off by a neighborhood dog Monday. T.J. Lemon, 8, is sporting scratches and stitches on his back, lip, cheek, head and even in his ear.

"I thought I was going to die," said T.J.

T.J. is a third grader who was playing after school when a neighborhood pit bull got loose.

"And he just came out of nowhere," said T.J. describing the attack. "I was trying to run toward my friends, but the dog had got to me. It was biting me. Then I thought, 'What of he gets me in the neck?'"

His father heard the screams.

"And I started panicking. I was like, 'I hope that's not my son.' So I started running," said Torre Lemon."The closer I got, the closer I saw my son being mauled by a pit bull."

Torre Lemon pulled the dog off. His bicep is now bandaged.

Police said Memphis Animal Services has custody of the dog. The staff does not what do with him.

The Lemon family hopes he is not returning to the neighborhood.

"If a dog is coming at a police officer they don't ask questions," said Torre. "Why would you want to give a dog back to somebody whereas this dog could get out and do this to another child?"

The dog owner did get a citation, and the dog was behind a fence.

It appears some other neighborhood children may have been playing with the gate, and the dog got out, as a result.

T.J.'s story is bound to spark debate about the breed. The family just hopes never to see this particular dog again.

In regard to the dog's breed, the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County released this statement:

Without knowing the level of the dog's socialization, whether he is neutered, and whether he is owned or stray, it is difficult to say what led to this happening. What we can tell you is that any breed of dog can be involved in a bite or serious attack. Some key things that can prevent dog bites and attacks are responsible ownership, which includes proper containment of your dog(s) and supervision of your dog(s) with other animals and people; and proactive community spay/neuter efforts, which reduce the number of stray dogs that can pose a threat to the public. Spay/neuter is equally important in owned dogs, as un-neutered dogs are more than 2.6 times more likely to bite than neutered dogs, according to Humane Society of the United States statistics.

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