Vicious pit bull strikes again

Friday, March 11, 2011
There were two pit bulls chained to dog houses in Betty Stones' yard. One dog of hers bit a child in October and a Shelbyville Power employee on March 3. (T-G Photo by Mary Reeves)

The dog that mauled 8-year-old Ashlynn Vandergriff in October has bitten another victim -- but not the one it was apparently wanting.

"He was ignoring me and going after my little girl," said Tony Farrar.

According to Farrar, he and his daughter, 3-year-old Jasmine, were taking a walk down Oak Street on March 3, where Tony's grandfather lives, when they stopped to look at some kittens playing in a neighbor's yard.

"I saw a dog running around the house," he said. "The dog leaped through the air like it was flying."

He sad the dog, a caramel-colored pit bull, lunged for the toddler, who he picked up and swung out of the way.

"I had to pick her up and hold her in the air," said Farrar, "The dog was growling and snapping ."

When it ran between his legs, still jumping for the girl, Farrar tripped and fell, he said.

"I covered the baby and started yelling," he said.

"She didn't get bit because Tony was there," said Teri Farrar, Tony's mother.

He had help. Farrar said a meter reader nearby, Carl Brent Cooper, saw what was happening and started to run toward them with a tool in his grip. Another man, one who lived at the house where the kittens were, also came running.

The second man, whose name the family never got, swooped the girl out of Farrar's hands and got her to safety. The dog went for the child again, said Farrar, and Cooper intercepted it and was bitten on the arm.

He said a woman came out of another house and grabbed the dog and took it back in with her. By the time the police and animal control showed up, it was out of sight.

"The dog catcher said it was the same dog that bit that little girl, the one with about 70 stitches," said Farrar. He said it was supposed to be put down."

Randy McCullough of Shelbyville Animal Control confirmed that it was the same dog, although he was not on the March 3 call.

In the earlier case, the victim had gone inside the home where the dog lived. She was bitten on the face, arm and elbow and beneath the arm, resulting in 87 stitches. But because she had entered the house without the owner knowing she was there and the dog was current on its shots, the dog was not destroyed.

"We can only take a dog when the judge tells us to," said McCullough. "You have to have a court order."

Had the dog been running loose, the animal control officers would have been able to pick it up, he said.

The Farrars said Ashlynn was not the first victim, but the second.

"It bit some little blond-haired boy and he had to have stitches in his lip," said Teri Farrar.

"We had no record of a prior bite," said McCullough.

This time, however, the dog was running loose before animal control arrived and owner Betty Stones received a citation for that. She will have to appear in court on March 21.

On the police report for the March 3 incident, officer Jeff Goodrich reported that the owner told him the dog would be destroyed the next day. On Thursday, McCullough said she still had the dog and was trying to place it with a friend.

"She said she wasn't going to do anything with it unless the court told her to, but she was going to get the dog out of the neighborhood," he said.

He said the dog has been in in-house quarantine even though its shot record is current, but that quarantine ends Saturday.

The Farrars are concerned, not just about Jasmine, but other children in the neighborhood, should the dog get free of its chain gain.

"There are lots of little children in this neighborhood, lots of elderly," said Teri Farrar. "I saw a little girl out there the other day, about two years old. If that dog got out again, she could be killed."

"The school bus lets out and you see a bunch of kids, all 6 to 12 years old, get out," said her son.

"What are they waiting for?" asked his wife, Brittany, Jasmine's mother. "For somebody to get killed?"