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Pit Bull Attacks 1yr old - Do you think big dogs should be around little kids?

Posted by on May. 24, 2009 at 12:40 PM
  • 46 Replies


Steeler Star's Pit Bull Attacks 1-Year-Old Son

Sunday, May 24, 2009

WTAE: Steelers linebacker James Harrison's toddler son remained at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh with a severe leg wound Friday after being badly bitten by a family dog one day earlier.



WTAE Channel 4 Action News broke the story that Patron, a 4-year-old pit bull, went after 1-year-old James Harrison III in the back yard of his father's Franklin Park home.

"I thought he was kind of just like playing, jumping on him," family friend Lisa Ripi said. "But he started to grab at the baby, and then I saw the blood, and the mom fell on top of him and she was screaming for me to take her baby and the dog was biting her."

Officer Ray Fate, from McKees Rocks-based Triangle Pet Control Services, told Channel 4 Action News that the dog is being kept there and will have to be put down. Harrison does not want the animal back in the house, and a dog that attacked a child cannot be adopted.

Fate described Harrison as a "concerned father. He wanted to get to the hospital. Little aggravated about the dog, mad at the dog."

Ripi told Channel 4 Action News reporter Ari Hait that she was with Harrison's child and the boy's mother, Beth Tibbot, on Thursday afternoon when young James started crying and the dog attacked.

"I picked up the baby from her and ran about 40 yards and dropped him over a fence about two feet, and the dog then went to go for the baby through the fence, which then gave me a moment to get around him, and I picked up the baby and called 911," Ripi said.

James III was rushed to the hospital, and Tibbot spent the night in a hospital with multiple bites, while Ripi required stitches in her leg. James III is said to be doing well at the hospital.

Patron had always been good with James III until the attack happened on Thursday, according to Ripi.

"I feel bad for the dog. He was a great dog, and not in his character," Ripi said.

A Children's Hospital representative declined to comment on WTAE Channel 4 Action News' report.

"We are aware of the situation, but this is a personal matter for James," Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said in a statement.

Harrison also declined to comment when he arrived home Friday, telling Hait, "No trespassing."

Franklin Park Police Chief Donald Dorsch is out of the office until next week, and he instructed police officers not to talk to the media about any ongoing police matters. The department wouldn't even confirm if anything was being investigated concerning Harrison.

The dog attack happened while the Super Bowl champion Steelers were in Washington to meet President Barack Obama at the White House.

Harrison, the NFL's defensive player of the year, made national headlines when he told WTAE Channel 4 that he declined to make that trip with the rest of his teammates.

"Other teammates call Harrison 'Pit Bull' for his ferocious and relentless style on the football field. Harrison, coincidentally, owns such a dog," said a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story that profiled Harrison in 2005.

That same report noted Harrison's distrust of the media, quoting him as saying, "Everything in the newspaper, half of it is B.S."


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by on May. 24, 2009 at 12:40 PM
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by Ruby Member on May. 24, 2009 at 12:45 PM

I think all dogs are fine with children. The problem is the parent walks away.

by Gold Member on May. 24, 2009 at 12:47 PM

But they are such misunderstood maligned family oriented dogs.*sarcasm*

Wether or not you choose to have a large dog(and I don't consider pits to be large)around your children is up to you but...I would not have certain breeds.


by on May. 24, 2009 at 12:54 PM

No dog should be left alone with a child, and I personally feel a one year old should not be running around the yard with any type of dog...What the hell is wrong with people and not using simple freaking common sense?

Palestinian People are defending themselves and their Land and their Homes against Israeli war crimes and Israeli war criminals, both military and civilian.

by on May. 24, 2009 at 12:56 PM

I think it just depends on the dog. I would rather my children be around a bigger dog than a small one. Most small dogs are short tempered and a lot more mean than a big dog. I know quite a few people that have been bitten in the face by small dogs, and even though they are "small" they can still do ALOT of damage and kill a child just like a big dog. Since I rent I can't have any pets right now, but when I do it will definitely be a big dog. My Uncle has a great Dane and my kids absolutely love him but they are terrified of all little dogs. I will probably get an English mastiff or something like that when I get my own home. Also, I think that a lot of parents need to watch their children more closely when they are around pets or other animals. I know when my children are around an animal I am always right beside them just in case the situation would turn out badly. I just don't understand why people make a huge deal about pit bulls...The media has blown these stories up and keep reporting them...But they fail to tell the stories of all the children that have had pieces of their faces ripped off by chihuahua's. I wouldn't personally get a pit bull for my family, but I don't think that they should be the only dogs singled out as vicious and mean and whatever else...

by Bronze Member on May. 24, 2009 at 1:00 PM

It doesn't matter what size the dog is, they should not be left alone with kids. Almost all of my family has large dogs and we have never had a problem with them and the kids, but we are pretty careful about it. Large dogs do cause more damage because they are larger and stronger.

by Bronze Member on May. 24, 2009 at 1:09 PM

exactly! there are no small dogs in my family either, and we have never had a single problem. but we are careful about it also. of course bigger dogs will do bigger damage, but its all about controlling the situation. like you said, it doesn't matter the size, they shouldn't be left alone with kids.

Quoting othermom:

It doesn't matter what size the dog is, they should not be left alone with kids. Almost all of my family has large dogs and we have never had a problem with them and the kids, but we are pretty careful about it. Large dogs do cause more damage because they are larger and stronger.

by on May. 24, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Every parenting magazine and book I've ever read clearly states NEVER leave your child alone with a dog. This is not the dogs fault. This a clear case of parents not listening. 

My two little loves!

by on May. 24, 2009 at 1:19 PM

big dogs and small children can coexist just fine together, as long as the parents are responsible about it.  as a large dog owner, i do not leave my children unattended with my dogs, that goes for the pits and also my golden retrievers.   i also teach my children from a very young age, not to harrass my animals.  that means, no tail pulling, no eye poking, no ear pulling, etc...many people train the animals and forget to train the children. animals are just that, animals.  they need to be treated like animals.  we cannot expect an animal to react as a human would because they are not humans.  may people/parents/and animal owners fail to understand that.  animals are not toys, and they need to be treated with respect. 

i have also seen the damage, first hand, what a little dog is capable of.  it's not pretty.  people also often underestimate small get the "they are small so they cause less damage" myth.  not true.  underestimating dogs just because of it's size is very dangerous.

no matter what size or breed a dog is, it needs to be in a controlled environment, especially with children.  a car can kill someone, therefore you need to pay attention and keep it under control.  same with an animal.


by Bronze Member on May. 24, 2009 at 2:01 PM

I personally would not have any dog, regardless of size, around my kids if that breed is notorious for attacks.  If someone does have a breed of dog that is known to be aggressive I think care should be taken to prevent any type of activity that may provoke the dog.  However, everyone should keep in mind that dogs are animals and any dog, even the most timid breeds, can attack at any time.  We have a golden retriever, very friendly dog and good with my kids, but I always remind the kids that he is an animal and I don't let them get near his food when he is eating and we have other general safety rules as well.  I never let the kids tease or taunt him.  They must treat the dog with respect and in turn I try to make sure the dog respects the kids as well.  If there ever is an instance that he attacks someone, he will be gone.



by Member on May. 24, 2009 at 2:07 PM


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