A father and other family members in Ohio lied to police, saying a neighbor’s dog bit his 2-year-old daughter on February 28, 2015, in order to protect the family’s pit bull, the Journal News reports.
On November 30, 2014, a mother and her live-in boyfriend in Des Moines, Iowa, told police that “a stray dog was responsible” when Gabrielle Looney, 2, was bitten by the boyfriend’s pit bull, Bowser, according to WHO-TV.
Are these similar scenarios just a coincidence, or do they signal the next phase in a growing trend to deny that pit bulls can be dangerous?
On February 28, 2015, Tyler Smith of Dayton, Ohio, told police his 2-year-old daughter, Monroe, was building a snowman in the backyard of her grandparent’s home, when she was suddenly attacked and severely bitten in the face by a loose dog. The story was reportedly confirmed by other family members, according to the Journal News.
The incident occurred in the 1300 block of Woodlawn Avenue in Middletown. The dog “came charging, barking and growling” at Smith and his daughter, he said.
Smith described how the dog came closer and he grabbed his daughter but the dog jumped at them and “grabbed her face.” The father claimed he choked the dog to make it release the little girl.
He drove Monroe to Atrium Medical Center, he said, and she was then transported to Dayton Children’s Hospital by ambulance.
The child received over 80 stitches to her face, Smith said.
Afterward, neighbor Pamela S. Willard, of Fairmount Avenue, owner of a Blue Heeler,was reportedly cited by Middletown police in regard to the attack but has maintained that her dog was not involved and was tied up at that time.
On March 2, the Journal News reported that “the family may have devised their story in order to spare the family pet.”
Middletown Police Major Mark Hoffman told the Journal that new information had been received and the department now believes it was the family dog—a brown pit bull, belonging to the grandmother—that was responsible for the attack on the baby girl.
Kimberly Brumett-Smith, mother of Tyler Smith, reportedly confessed that her son, “sent her a text message telling her not to tell the truth to the police."
Major Hoffman said that Smith could be charged with filing a false report and child endangerment, the Journal News reports.
DES MOINES, IOWA
On November 30, 2014, Gabrielle Looney, 2, was bitten on the face by her mother’s boyfriend’s pit bull. Her mother and her mother’s boyfriend lied to doctors and police about what happened to protect the dog, WHO-TV reported.
“She tried to say that this injury to her child occurred from a stray,” said Des Moines Police Sergeant Jim Butler.
The boyfriend's pit bull, named Bowser, was seized by the City and appears to be unlicensed and not vaccinated, Sgt. Butler said.
Bowser’s owner, John Houston, said he just moved in with his girlfriend and her daughters a couple of weeks ago, and Bowser and Gabrielle seemed to get along just fine. “They were always like best friends,” he said.
But on Sunday, Houston admitted that Gabrielle tried to kiss Bowser on the nose and he snapped at her.
“Truthfully, I really don’t know what he was thinking. I know that he understood that he was wrong,” Houston told WHO-TV. “He ran into the corner and laid down, like with his ears down. He knew he was in trouble.”
Houston later admitted he and his girlfriend lied to police and hospital staff about what happened to protect Bowser. He said they decided to tell the truth so Gabrielle would not have to go through the pain of a series of rabies shots.
Houston said he was going to turn Bowser into a shelter anyway that night.
Although he claims he doesn’t want Bowser, he also said he doesn’t want the pit bull to be put down.
“That’s my best friend,” he said. “I’ve been through everything with him.”
“I will more than likely deem the dog dangerous vs. vicious or high risk because the dog according to the code did bite once at or above the shoulders of a human being,” Sgt. Butler said.
Because the mother lied to police, she could reportedly face charges for filing a false report and interference with official acts.