Boy in day care bitten by pit bull

Harford toddler undergoes head surgery

August 19, 2008|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Reporter

An 18-month-old boy was seriously injured when he was bitten by a pit bull yesterday, soon after he arrived at the home of an Aberdeen day care provider, police said.

Aberdeen police officers, responding shortly after 8 a.m. to the incident in the 800 block of Edmund St., found the little boy bleeding from deep bites to his head, injuries that required surgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, police said.

"Surgery was required to close the head injury," said Sgt. Fred Budnick, Aberdeen Police Department spokesman. The child is out of surgery, but Budnick did not know his condition.

Hospital officials said they are legally barred from commenting on the condition of an unidentified patient.

Police are not naming the child or the day care owner.

Ida Hendrix, who lives next door to the day care provider, said her husband, James Hendrix, told her he was in their backyard when he saw the dog biting the child. His yells prompted the animal to drop the boy, she said. Hendrix grabbed the child and applied pressure to his head to stem the bleeding, while the day care provider called 911, Ida Hendrix said.

"The bites were so bad that the child's scalp was showing," she said.

A woman who answered the phone at the day care late yesterday declined to comment.

Before taking the child to the hospital, paramedics from the Aberdeen Fire Department treated the child, who remained conscious throughout the incident.

The dog, an 18-month-old pure-bred male, belonged to the son of the day care owner and was restrained in a fenced yard, police said. The owner told police that the animal had interacted with children in the past without incident, police said.

"As far as we know, there have been no other incidents reported with this dog," Budnick said.

The provider, whose day care business is licensed through the county Health Department, told police that she was unaware the toddler had slipped out the back door and into the yard where the incident occurred. One other child was in her care at the time.

George Mercer, spokesman for Aberdeen Proving Ground, said the caregiver is registered with the post's Children and Youth Services program, which can refer parents to providers. Mercer declined to give the name of the provider.

The presence of a pit bull would not preclude the Health Department from licensing the day care, officials said.

"We can't discriminate against any breed of dog," said Pamela Arney, Harford's animal control officer.

The Harford County Animal Control unit has taken custody of the dog, while the Health Department continues its investigation.

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