November 6, 2006
A father faces charges after four pit bulls maul a 22-month-old boy to death. It happened over the weekend in Bamberg.
The dogs apparently went into the sleeping child's room, dragged him out of bed, and attacked. Deputies say the dogs' aggressive nature could be responsible.
Dr. James Mitchell put the four pit bulls down. Dr. Mitchell says the dogs seemed friendly when deputies brought them in, but it was a different story a few hours earlier.
"They look at it like a little tiny animal and that's a dog's instinct. Sometimes to grab it, play with it, or bite it," he said, describing what happened to 22-month-old Allen Young.
K9 deputy Norris Williams, who owns a pit bull, says the attack probably started off as a rough game...but things changed as the dogs dragged the sleeping boy from his bed to the kitchen, when the boy started bleeding.
"They were playing with the child, somehow snagged the child, the blood was spilled or tasted, and that continued to the violence it led to," Deputy Williams said.
Deputy Williams says father Michael Young claims he stepped outside to talk to his landlord and found his son severely wounded when he came back several minutes later.
Deputy Williams says no matter how friendly your dogs may seem, it is never a good idea to leave them alone with children.
"You get used to your animal and you believe ' know my dogs', and you'll take that five minute chance," he said. "But it could have been anybody."
In this case, the five minute chance turned deadly...which is why deputies brought the dogs to Dr. Mitchell.
"It was more than just a dog bite that required them to be euthanized. It's because a child's life was taken," Dr. Mitchell said.
Michael Young says he was planning to build the dogs a secure outdoor area the next day. They were indoors temporarily since Young and his son just moved in.
Young could be charged with homicide by neglect. Deputies say the dogs didn't have a record of harming people, but Young still faces charges since pit bulls can be aggressive by nature.
Deputies expect to charge Michael Young later this week.