Society

Mother, 9-Year-Old Son Hospitalized After Pit Bull Attack

| by Phyllis M Daugherty
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Shamar Jean Baptiste, 9, was riding his bicycle in his driveway at 1841 S.W. 43rd Avenue in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, at around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, when he was attacked by a neighbor’s pit bull mix, the Broward Sheriff’s Office told WSVN.

A neighbor described how the pit bull suddenly came running down the street out of nowhere and jumped on the little boy’s back and started biting and chewing his entire body.

Hearing his screams, the boy’s mother, Gracieuse Jean Baptiste, 35, and his sister ran outside, along with another neighbor.

Shamar’s sister tried to beat the dog off the boy with a skateboard and the mother used a broom handle but the dog also bit her. Another neighbor came from across the street to try to move the dog away from the boy, but the pit bull kept continued the attack on the child, according to an eyewitness account. 

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Finally, WSVN reports, a woman identified by neighbors as the mother of the pit bull’s owner, was able to get the dog under control and stop the assault on Shamar. The mother was supposedly the person caring for the dog at that time.

Neighbor Donna Hartog told Sentry Review she heard Shamar’s mother scream and saw the dog’s mouth was completely red and covered with what appeared to be blood. The driveway was also covered with blood.

Jean Justine, 21, said he had run out to help. He told Sentry Review he used a belt to hit the dog. His father states Justine sustained only a scratch during the melee but the dog followed his son home, so he quickly went inside. Justine's father added that the dog was "truly crazy."

Justine said that at some point the owner of the pit bull arrived at the scene and was screaming for them to stop beating the dog. She struggled with the dog to get him inside her car and then drove away.

Shamar was taken to Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, reports CBS. His mother, Gracieuse, was transported to Broward Health Medical Center with serious wounds; both are expected to require surgery, said Ramona Watt, a friend of the family.

Watt, who verified the identification of the victims for the police, later went to visit them at the hospital. She said there was blood all over the mother, including her face, and a nurse advised her that it was “possibly squirting from her shoulder.” Watt told CBS that Gracieuse also had a bite on her leg. She said both victims are expected to undergo surgery.  “There was blood everywhere,” Watts said.

The pit bull was later impounded at the owner’s home and taken to the animal shelter. The supposed owner of the dog was seen in a photo by the Sun Sentinel, crying at the door of the animal control truck after the dog was placed in the vehicle.

Although there apparently were no witnesses to explain how the pit bull got loose in the street, it was determined that his home was about a block from the scene of the attack. Neighbors told the Sentry Review that the dog had been loose before.

Authorities have not announced whether the owner of the dog will receive citations or possibly face charges.

Sources: WSVN, CBS, Sentry Review / Photo: Provided, WikiCommons