A balloon release was launched on Saturday in Riverside, AL, to help a community say goodbye to 5-year-old John Harvard, Family and friends came together and released balloons in his memory in the afternoon and then later they gathered at his home for a candlelight vigil.
5 year-old John Harvard and his 9-year-old brother were playing in their own front yard on Honeysuckle Way when a neighbor’s 80-pound Pit Bull ran onto the property and attacked the younger boy last Sunday, April 6. The 9-year-old tried to get the dog off his little brother before running to get their father, according to Mayor Rusty Jessup.
Mayor Jessup knows the family well. He says, "We think the dog might have been shot because the father did take some shots at the Pit Bull in an effort to get it off the child."
The 5-year-old was rushed to St. Vincent’s Hospital in St. Clair County where he was pronounced dead.
Neighbors say the dog's owners treated all the children in the neighborhood like they were their own.
"They give ice cream and popsicles to every child in this neighborhood all the way to the end of the street. They wouldn't have this happen for anything in the world," said Kay Calhoun, one of the Harvards' neigbhors. "They are just heartbroken. They've seen and loved this little boy since he was born as well. They are in a great deal of pain."
The dog was later euthanized.
The case is still under investigation, according to St. Clair County Undersheriff Billy Murray.
Meanwhile, the city is looking at possibly adopting a leash law following this incident. Mayor Jessup said the incident just proves that it's time for Riverside to adopt a leash ordinance to prevent a similar incident like this from happening in the future.
He says a city council member has indicated they'd bring a leash law to the table for discussion at their April 15 meeting.