3-year-old recovers from dog bite; owner repeat offender

Toddler recovers; owners faces charges after previous sentence for animal abuse. (WDTN- Jamar Black)

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – A  3-year-old boy is on the road to recovery after a pit bull attack.

Police said Rickey Preston was mauled about two weeks ago in Springfield when the dog’s owner, who they saw was drunk, let several children pet the pit bull.

His family spoke only with 2 NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé, who also uncovered some history on the dog’s owner, Robert Rife.

Preston visited Dayton Children Hospital Tuesday and according to his grandmother, doctors said he’s making progress.

When 2 NEWS returned to his home, Rickey Preston was all smiles, a very different picture from the little boy with swollen eyes, bandages and more than 200 stitches.

He’s been riding his bicycle, playing with his cousins and most importantly healing.

But his grandmother Sonja Preston said the attack has left a permanent scar, both physically and mentally.

“He’s doing real good. He’s scarred of dogs. If he sees a loose dog or anything, he comes flying in the house, which you know I cant blame him for that,” said his grandma.

The family is still waiting for an apology from Rife.

2 NEWS checked with the Clark County Humane Society who told our reporter that Rife has been prosecuted several times for animal cruelty.

Most recently in 2012, he was found guilty of charges that he confined and abused 12 dogs in a small garage he was living in.

He served jail time and was ordered not to own any animals for at least a year, but that order expired when he got this new pit bull.

Preston believes that’s no excuse.

“I mean something, check on him, you know. It was his dog and I hear he wasn’t even suppose to have a dog and so why he even had a vicious a dog like that and you know can’t even come up and check on him,” she said.

Officials euthanized the pit bull that bit Preston.

They said it could have been prevented if Rife took responsibility and followed laws to vaccinate the dog.

Rife’s court date is set for Friday, when he will face 3 misdemeanor charges: failure to license a dog, failure to control a dog, and failure to vaccinate it against rabies.

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