Community reacts to dog mauling

RIVERSIDE, Al — (WIAT) A community is in mourning after a 5-year-old is mauled to death by a pit bull. Tonight a close friend of the family spoke with CBS 42.

“I held the baby when he came home from the hospital. He was just like one of mine,” says Kay Calhoun as she’s barely able to hold back her tears. The grandmother says 5-year old John Harvard was her grandsons best friend.

“He said will he grow up in heaven,” claims Calhoun of her grandson. “And I said he’s sitting on Gods knee with all the other children.”

It was just three days ago that John had been playing at Kay’s house. It was on the short walk home that everything changed. That’s when a neighbors pit bull attacked him.

“And poor little Bradley, his nine year old brother, who heroically drove his bicycle right into the midst of the fray and did everything he could,” claims Riverside Mayor Rusty Jessup. “The dog never bit him even though he was kicking on it, pounding on it, pulling on it. The dog never bit him. So he ran inside and got his dad. The dad came out with a nine millimeter pistol, shot at the dog.”

The dog ran off but it was too late. Little John didn’t survive. Mayor Jessup says everyone is stunned and a leash law is now being considered.

“There was no indication that there was anything wrong with the dog. Neighbors had seen that dog playing with kids in the past. We just, we don’t know. But with a leash law it wouldn’t have been loose.”

In looking at their yard, it does appear the owners of the pit bull did make some attempts to restrain their dog. There’s a long line, a crate, even a pen in their back yard. How often they used it though we don’t know. But what we do know is a child is dead, a dog has been euthanized, a town is in mourning and no one ever thought any of this would happen.

A funeral fund has been set up for the family. Anyone who wants to donate can do so in person at the Riverside City Hall or by mail. That address is 379 Depot Street, Riverside, Alabama 35135.

2014 WIAT CBS 42

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