Pit bull attack raises question - who's to blame? - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Pit bull attack raises question - who's to blame?

Attack victim, Amber Hornsby Attack victim, Amber Hornsby

BISHOPVILLE, SC (WIS) - It wasn't a fair fight for Amber Hornsby. It was one 11-year-old girl versus four dogs, two of them pit bulls.

Her grandfather, Charles Morris, says, "Everytime I think about it I want to cry. That shouldn't happen to anybody, especially a little child."

It happened in her neighbor's yard, just a few yards from her front door. Amber's wounds are deep. As of Wednesday, she's still in critical condition. 

Morris says, "I don't think they got her face, but I heard from the chest all the way down to her legs, they just stomped her."

Her mother tells WIS News 10 that Amber spent some time in a hyperbaric chamber to expose her wounds to oxygen because doctors feared she's come down with some form of a flesh-eating disease. She's also been having seizures and she hasn't eaten in three days.

As for the dogs, animal control later found them. They had blood on their legs when they were caught. Officials say all seemed well fed. Three of them were males, and one female in heat.

"They're hormones and all excited, carrying on behind the female," says Dorris Scarborough of Lee County Animal Control. "All four of them jumped on her. When you have one dog that attacks, they're all going to jump in, all going to take their bite."

The dogs were brought to a clinic where they were euthanized. Next, they'll be checked for rabies.

But in spite of this latest attack, dog experts say pit bulls aren't as viscious as they might appear. "I don't think any animal is predisposed to violence any more than any other. I think it's certainly the outside influences," says veterinarian Emily Hoppmann.

Hoppmann says those influences include owners who train dogs to be violent.

One study shows more than half of all dog attacks are by pit bulls. Another study found they're also responsible for about a third of all related deaths.

Hoppmann says, "Did the dogs start out that way? I doubt it. These people have to work very hard to train dogs to be violent or they have to be put in a situation where they don't have any other way."

Amber's grandfather agrees. A responsible owner, he says, "should've got rid of the dogs, locked 'em up or had them where they couldn't hurt anyone."

Instead, an 11-year-old is hurt, and officials say all of Amber's neighbors deny owning any of the dogs.

Reported by Dan Tordjman

Posted by Chantelle Janelle

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