9-year-old mauled by pit bull

April 29, 2008 8:44:55 PM PDT
A 9-year-old boy was released from the hospital Tuesday night after being mauled by a pit bull mix. The third grader was rushed to Cooper Medical Center, needing hundreds of stitches to his face. But with bandages protecting his face, 9-year-old Kassime Reddick is remarkably well enough to be back at home.

"I was petrified. I didn't even want to look at him," said Kassime's mother Shibisha.

Kassime was walking home from school on Idaho Street in Camden Tuesday afternoon, when he stopped to say hello to a dog, which belongs to Manny Cruz. Cruz says another dog, a pit bull belonging to his next door neighbor, somehow broke free from his chain.

Cruz tells Action News, "The little kid was like, 'Oh look, the dog got loose, I'm gonna go get him.'"

He says the dog first jumped on Kassime without hurting him.

"And then in the second jump he snatched him in the face - I saw the blood fly."

Cruz says the struggle to get the dog off Kassime took place in a just few frightening moments. Finally, he was able to separate them by placing Kassime on top of his car until the police arrived.

The dog was taken to the Camden County Animal Shelter in Blackwood, New Jersey. In a report by animal control officers at the scene the dog was identified as male and labeled as vicious.

Caretakers at the shelter say you can't blame the whole breed for these kinds of incidents. "When they're raised properly and bred properly they are really the most lovable dogs you'll ever meet," said Charlene Trainor.

The dog will stay at the animal shelter for at least a few days. It is unclear what will happen to him after that.

The owners of the pit bull told Action News they had no comment. Meanwhile, their neighbor Manny Cruz says there have been no problems with this dog in the past.