Pit bull attacks off-duty cop, kills his dog

Incident that led to 'Little Stewie' being paralyzed, euthanized believed to be first attack by pit bull this year in Howard

May 12, 2010|By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun

Isaiah Harrison didn't see the pit bull until it was too late.

Now the federal law enforcement officer is home with a hand that will require surgery and physical therapy, and his 11-pound Yorkshire terrier-poodle mix is dead.

"He was just a little puppy," said Pat Harrison, Isaiah's wife. "It's just so sad. It's terrible."

Isaiah Harrison, a police officer with the Federal Reserve, was walking 17-month-old Little Stewie near his home in Ellicott City on Sunday when a pit bull appeared in front of them and attacked.

Harrison's pet was paralyzed — and later euthanized — and her husband injured when they were attacked by an unleashed pit bull near their home in Woodlands Village about 3 p.m.

Harrison, a police officer with the Federal Trade Board in Washington, needed 45 stitches to close a wound to his right hand, which could require surgery.

Harrison said that the pit bull, which police said was a 3-year-old male, went right for Stewie.

"He came from nowhere. I didn't see him until he was in the street," Harrison recalled. "He was right up on me, and I went to pick up my dog. I thought he was going to stop, but he didn't stop. He was trying to get my dog, so I put my hand up and he got my hand. I had to let go. I can't even describe the pain."

Harrison said the attack lasted "two or three minutes."

"The owner finally came and he grabbed the dog's collar and was punching the dog, and the dog still wouldn't let go," Harrison added. "He finally got his dog loose, but it was too late then. My dog was already dying. It happened so quick."

Little Stewie, named for the precociously belligerent Griffin baby in the animated television comedy "Family Guy," was later euthanized. Harrison's right hand required 45 stitches, which doctors at Union Memorial Hospital have said is only the beginning of his treatment.

In the development where Isaiah and Pat Harrison live, the couple's beige Yorkipoo had become a fixture since the day they bought him home from a breeder in Northern Virginia.

"Everyone knew 'Little Stewie'," said Pat Harrison.

According to Howard County police, It was the 38th incident this year in which Animal Control had to be called because of a bite, with 90 percent of them involving dogs. It is believed to be the first in the county this year involving a pit bull, a police spokeswoman said.

The county has a law requiring dog owners to keep their pets on leashes when outside the house.

"It's so surprising and upsetting because in our development there are signs up that say, 'You have to walk your dog, your dog must be on a leash,' " said Pat Harrison.

Because the investigation is continuing, police declined to identify the dog's owner but said that the owner came in to Animal Control on Wednesday to surrender the animal. The pit bull will be euthanized once rabies tests are completed.

"As the owner of the dog, they're heartbroken that they had to give up their pet, but realizing what their pet did, it's a huge liability for them to try to take that dog back," said Deborah Baracco, administrator of Animal Control.

Pat Harrison said she was told by Animal Control that the owner lived outside the neighborhood and had left the dog in the care of relatives at Woodland Village. The dog was being cared for by the owner's relatives. But she said she was told little else, and was informed by a Baltimore Sun reporter Wednesday that the owner had surrendered the pit bull.

"That dog should be put to sleep, but I'm disappointed that Animal Control didn't call us," she said. "All I know is that I have a dead dog and a husband with 45 stitches in his hand."

Isaiah Harrison, a former corrections officer in Manassas, Va., who also worked on the police force at the Pentagon, is recuperating at home. Doctors have told him his right hand, which he uses to carry his 9 mm Glock pistol, will require surgery and physical therapy.

Pat Harrison, who works for the Internal Revenue Service, took some time off this week to care for her husband, who was prescribed painkillers and an antibiotic to fight potential infection.

Pat Harrison said the extent of any permanent injury to her husband's hand and wrist won't be known until the swelling goes down and a more accurate assessment of the damage can be determined.

"This is going to greatly affect his job," she said. "They're going to have to find him a desk job or something, because he can't do anything with his right hand. That's his livelihood."

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