Pit bulls attack in Mount Vernon

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A commotion in the backyard last Friday night sent 13-year-old Nick Brown into action when he discovered three pit bulls from the neighborhood mauling his dog Baxter, a mixed beagle and cocker spaniel, to near death.

Immediately, Brown pushed the snarling pit bulls away, grabbed Baxter and headed inside, noticing blood on the dogs belly and saliva around the neck where the pit bulls were latched on to Baxter.

Brown could have been attacked himself but he had Baxter on his mind.

I wasnt really concerned about that, I was concerned about Baxter, the Mount Vernon teenager said.

Donna Brown, Nicks mother, took Baxter to the Alexandria Animal Hospital, where he was treated for 50 puncture wounds, and called the Fairfax County Animal Control, who came and got the dogs.

Those dogs could have attacked my 13-year-old son, Brown said. Youve got to do something to make sure the dogs cant get out.

Fairfax County held the dogs until the vet from Alexandria analyzed the wounds to determine what actions to take with the attacking dogs.

It was determined that the injuries were serious enough that the dogs be euthanized, which was done on Sunday, July 22, said Fairfax County Police officer Don Gotthardt. In a case like this, the pit bull owners must be consulted as well.

They [pit bull owners] were cooperative, Gotthardt said. If the attacking dog owners contested it, the case would have gone to court and ultimately a judge would have to decide if the dogs are euthanized, Gotthardt said.

Formal charges could then be levied against the owners. By releasing the dogs voluntarily to the county, there will be no charges filed against the owners, Gotthardt said.

No strangers to neighbors
The pit bulls owners moved in a few doors down from the Browns about four months ago, and these particular dogs were not strangers to the Animal Control officers. Fairfax County Animal Control had to be called many times, when the dogs got out, Brown said, but the owners paid a fine to get the pit bulls back. The three dogs, a 2- year-old female and her two seven-month-old puppies, were not on the recently formed Dangerous Dog Registry.

The registry was created by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a mechanism for consumers to determine if dangerous dogs reside in their neighborhoods and for local animal control officials to post information about dogs that have been declared dangerous by the local court, according to the agency.

Brown was aware of the registry, which initially began as a result of a pair of fatal dog attacks.

After the attack, the neighbor did come down here and she was very upset, Brown said.

Baxter was partially shaved and received staples to close the wounds, but the Browns think their pet will be alright.

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