SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – His head swaddled in bandages, a 3-year-old attacked by a pit bull came home from Dayton Children’s Hospital Wednesday to recover, but his family says they still want the owner held accountable.
Rickey Conley needed 200 stitches after the dog mauled him Tuesday in the backyard of his grandmother’s Springfield home on Lagonda Avenue. His ear was ripped, his eye swollen shut and his skull suffered serious injuries.
2 NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé spoke with his grandmother, Sonja, who said doctors said if the dog had bitten just an half and inch more, it would have been a fatal attack.
“The dog was over the other side of the fence and then it jumped,” said Rickey’s 7 year old cousin Jordan. He says it first went after him but he ran.
Springfield police say the dog’s owner, Robert Rife, now faces charges for allowing the dog to get loose. Officers say Rife was drunk and walking with the dog to a nearby convenience store for more beer.
The Springfield Humane Society took the pit bull, but Rickey’s mom Crystall says Rife needs to be punished. “I think they need to give him a child endangerment because he knew the dog would bite because he tells everybody that the dog bites and it’ll tear somebody up. He shouldn’t have had it coming down here with it.”
As we get closer to summer, officials are noticing more attacks. Specialist Kelli Sharp talks to kids about safety rules around dogs. “The danger there is that we have a lot of children that come to the ER with simple dog bites and then very serious dog bites and so we take them to a course of steps that they can kind of remind themselves that if they see a strange dog it is not ok for them to approach the dog. They need to talk to the owner, they need to make sure that the dog smells their hand before they pet them.”
Even so, that’s no guarantee a dog won’t attack. Family members say the children did ask to pet the dog before it jumped the fence and bit Rickey.
Rickey will have to have many more doctor’s visits for treatment and follow up.
Robert Rife faces three misdemeanor charges: failure to license a dog, failure to control a dog, and failure to vaccinate it against rabies.