A Pit Bull, named Champ, that attacked a 10-month-old baby on Friday afternoon in Holiday, Florida, is “not a vicious animal”, his caretaker and child's aunt says.
The mauling of little Joshua Murphy took place while his mother Stephanie, of Tarpon Springs, was standing outside the home talking to a friend. According to Tampa Bay Times, the two women heard the dog growling and ran inside to find Joshua being attacked by the Pit Bull.
The child reportedly suffered severe bites to his head and shoulder and is at All Children’s Hospital, where he is expected to survive. There was no indication when he would be released.
Murphy’s sister, Jessica Dyrmishi, who had called the dog a “bullmastiff,” spoke to BayNews9 Saturday afternoon and said, “This baby (played with the dog) 100 times, like pulling on the lips, hugging, always around the dog. Nothing like this has ever happened before.”
“This was truly a freak accident; it wasn’t negligence," Dyrmishi said. "It wasn’t a dog she (the mother) didn’t know or wasn’t familiar with or the baby wasn’t familiar with. She was feet away from the baby, she turned her head for a moment, there was an attack…this wasn’t a vicious animal she left around her son.
"We love the mother, the father and the baby so much," Janna Garlock, who helps care for the dog, told BayNews9.
Garlock said she was told Champ may be put to sleep in 72 hours. She said she wants more time because Champ's owner, her stepson, is out of town. Pasco County, Florida, authorities listed Champ's owner as the live-in girlfriend of the stepson, Megan Pitmann. The dog owners say Champ is normally a sweet dog, according to the report.
Jessica Dyrmishi said she’s looking forward to celebrating her nephew’s first birthday in two months. “He’s a big baby, he’s a strong baby and I think he’ll definitely pull through okay,” she said. “He will have scarring, but he’s alive and I just can’t wait for him to be okay.”
Dyrmishi also share with the media that Joshua is her sister’s only child. “My sister actually had a child pass away (stillborn). ... She was told she was not able to have children and she got pregnant with Josh Jr.,” she told BayNews9, calling her nephew a “miracle baby.”
Dyrmishi said the child’s father works as a commercial fisherman and was “horrified” when he learned about the attack.
Pasco County Animal Control officials are holding the dog for observation, the New Port Richey Patch reports.