Jul 22, 2010

Memphis firefighter recalls 'surreal' pit bull attack

As Memphis Fire Department workers tried to save the life of an elderly man who had been attacked by two pit bulls, onlookers cried out a warning.

"Before you know it, everyone started screaming, 'Here come the dogs!' and there were two dogs charging us," said Lt. Ray Pelletier, a firefighter and paramedic on the scene shortly after noon Tuesday near Poplar and Manassas.

The emergency workers moved to shield the 71-year-old victim, William Parker, who died in the attack.

"I tried to get the (Fire Department) crew members behind me, and I took a long spine board and put it between us and the dogs and tried to protect the whole scene," said Pelletier, who was bitten on the calf.

But the dogs kept coming, forcing the rescuers away from Parker, who was down on the ground, Pelletier said.

"As long as we were there with the patient, the dogs were attacking us," said Pelletier. "If we got within 15 or 20 feet from the patient, the dogs moved in."

Parker's daughter, Gardenia Parker, was bitten as she tried to help her father, along with neighborhood resident Kevin Stringfellow and firefighter Ken Hartfield.

"It was surreal," Pelletier said.

Eventually police arrived and corralled the dogs, allowing the paramedics to work.

Parker did not survive the ordeal, suffering a heart attack at the scene.

The dogs are owned by Bernard Humphrey, who had been taken into police custody on Sunday because he failed to update his address for the sex-offender registry.

Police discovered Humphrey's registry offense after being called to his apartment on Manassas on Sunday because the dogs had a man trapped at his car.

Department officials say the dogs were "contained" in an apartment Sunday and Memphis Animal Services was not called to collect them.

Police haven't said if Humphrey will face charges related to the Tuesday attacks by his dogs.

The dogs are in quarantine at the Memphis Animal Shelter. An abundance of pit bulls and pit bull mixes at the facility has prompted Memphis City Council member Shea Flinn to propose a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for the breed.

His proposal wasn't inspired by the behavior of the breed, he says, but the proliferation of pit bulls in Memphis.

"If it had been 80 percent Chihuahuas (populating the shelter), it would have been a Chihuahuas thing," Flinn said.

The ordinance is still being written and will not be breed-specific, he said.

Last October, three pit bulls attacked a Cordova woman as she walked her son's dog, biting her more than 50 times on her arms and legs.

And in April, an 8-year-old girl in Raleigh was attacked by a neighbor's pit bull an hour before the start of her birthday party.

The child required extensive surgery and a five-day hospital stay.


Unrelated Pit Bull attack in Memphis TN.
Also, this is a new Pit Bull attack story that happened in Memphis TN.

(Memphis 11/21/2010) An eight-year-old girl attacked by a pit bull in Whitehaven was recovering at home, after being released from LeBonheur Children's Hospital with 42 stitches.


Eight-year-old Terriona Rhea was attacked by a neighbor's pit bull on Saturday afternoon.

Rhea received 42 stitches at LeBonheur Children's Hospital.

She said she still loves dogs.

1 comment:

  1. That's the hardest for me to take: when children are attacked by these pig dogs. Earlier this year there was a poor little girl who was killed in Mississippi while she was outside playing in the snow. And reading about another child attacked right before her own birthday party is just as sad. Nobody deserves this to happen.


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