Ten-year-old sur­vives pit bull at­tack

Vic­tim un­der­goes surgery, fam­ily and friends rally to show sup­port

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Michelle Kim

Case Hall is one re­silient kid. If he were a cat, he would be down a cou­ple of lives, but would be en­joy­ing the lives he has left to the fullest.

Three years ago, he sur­vived a ter­ri­ble car ac­ci­dent that took the life of his sis­ter and fa­ther.

And last Wed­nes­day, the 10year-old was at­tacked by a pit bull, leav­ing him with lac­er­a­tions on his face, arms, hands, chest, in­juries to his mouth, and bro­ken bones that re­quired surgery, ac­cord­ing to his step­fa­ther, Steve Bushell.

“He’s tak­ing it in stride,” said Bushell. “He’s shook up, but he’s do­ing the best he can.”

Though he was ban­daged, stitched, and pined up, Case was still in good spir­its, said Bushell.

In fact, be­fore he un­der­went surgery last week, he asked doc­tors if he’d be ready to do go-cart­ing by Satur­day. He was sup­posed to make his go-cart rac­ing de­but this past week­end, said his step­fa­ther.

The dog, a 3-year-old un­neutered male pit bull named Smoke, be­longed to a neigh­bor, Corey Stringer, 32, who lives in the same cul-de-sac as Case’s fam­ily. Stringer, who also owned an un-spayed fe­male pit bull, was not home at the time of the in­ci­dent and was charged with a reck­less con­duct mis­de­meanor by the New­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice. He was also is­sued a ci­ta­tion and a fine by the New­ton County An­i­mal Con­trol.

Case had been walk­ing home with other kids af­ter school from the school bus stop on Feb. 27 around 3 p.m. As they came down the street, they saw the dog, sit­ting by the side of the road.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, the dog at­tacked Case. The girls he had been walk­ing with were part of the fam­ily that owned Smoke and they tried to pull the dog off Case, giv­ing him a chance to get away.

But the 50 pound dog was no match for the el­e­men­tary school-aged girls, and the dog got away from them and at­tacked Case a sec­ond time.

The pit bull was pulled off Case again and he fled a lit­tle fur­ther down the road to­ward his house be­fore he was at­tacked again. This time he was knocked to the ground.

Two adult neigh­bors who saw what hap­pened had rushed to the scene and pulled the dog off Case the third time, and he was able to make it to his front porch and rang the door bell.

Bushell said there had been a trail of blood down the street to their house.

Case’s older brother, Ryan Lau­rin, 19, who had also sur­vived the car ac­ci­dent, was home at the time. He quickly let Case in and called 911.

Bushell said Lau­rin han­dled the sit­u­a­tion well. “He did a good job. We’re proud of him for what he did,” said Bushell.

Case was taken to New­ton Med­i­cal Cen­ter and had 25 to 30 stitches in five to 10 places. He had surgery to place pins for his frac­ture, and re­cently had the stitches in his face taken out. The dog bites had also “re­ar­ranged” two of Case’s teeth, said Bushell, but he is able to eat with one side of his mouth, and the fam­ily will be run­ning be­tween den­tist and doc­tor’s vis­its for the next cou­ple weeks.

He was re­leased Sun­day from the hospi­tal, where Bushell and Case’s mother, Nancy Hall, had been stay­ing with him around the clock.

The Rocky Plains El­e­men­tary School fifth grader had a steady stream of vis­i­tors af­ter his surgery.

“The school teach­ers stopped by to see him on Fri­day night,” said Bushell. One of Case’s wounds was a clearly marked paw print, and his school’s mas­cot is the cougars. “He’s said, ‘look, I got school spirit. I’ve got the paw print.’”

The owner of the pit bull also came to visit at the hospi­tal, said Bushell.

The pit bull, which was taken and placed un­der quar­an­tine by New­ton County An­i­mal Con­trol to make sure it did not have ra­bies and will be put down at the end of the quar­an­tine, ac­cord­ing to Di­rec­tor Terry Key-Hoo­son.

The dog had bit­ten a 15-yearold a cou­ple years ago, she said, but the bite hadn’t been con­sid­ered ag­gres­sive and the dog had only been quar­an­tined at home. The fe­male pit bull Stringer owned was given up to the NCAC and put down.

Key-Hoo­son said the NCAC sees on av­er­age one case a month of a dog bit­ing a child. She said they see all kinds of breeds that bite chil­dren but that pit bulls have a tremen­dous amount of power in their jaws.

Bushell said Case was not par­tic­u­larly afraid of dogs, even af­ter the in­ci­dent, be­cause they owned two Chi­huahuas and an English set­ter. But this in­ci­dent so­lid­i­fied Bushell’s opin­ion about pit bulls.

“Af­ter the Michael Vick thing, it was ‘why breed them?” he said. “Why have a vi­cious dog like that with two lit­tle girls liv­ing there?”

Hall said she was ready to have the “black cloud” of bad luck that had struck the fam­ily go away.

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