Columbus boy attacked by pit bull speaks out, city enforcing leash law

Published: Jun. 1, 2016 at 10:52 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2016 at 4:05 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A young Columbus boy who endured an horrific ordeal Tuesday afternoon when he came face to face with a pit bull sat down with News Leader 9 for a one-on-one interview.

"When he first started, I didn't feel nothing and he keep going and I started whining," explained Nigiel Garland.

The 9-year-old rising fourth grader is home now after doctors operated on his leg Tuesday evening. Nigiel was walking home from the store when things went all too wrong as he reached a home on Robert E. Lee Street near Victory Drive.
"One dog came running to me and one didn't do anything and when the one dog came, he bit me on my leg."

Moments after the attack started, the dog's owner came to the rescue, yelling for the dog to stop but that didn't work. The animal kept pounding on Nigiel until the owner pushed the dog back.

"We spoke with Nigiel's mother off camera, She said her son received about 50 stitches in the front and back of his thigh. She also says the wounds were so severe, doctors were not able to stitch up all of them.

Nigiel added the owner took him home located around the corner from the scene. He was rushed to the hospital but when Animal Control officers arrived with a dog catcher, the owner was gone. They placed a yellow notice on the door instructing the owner to call Animal Control.

We went back to the home Wednesday following the interview with Nigiel, the yellow notice was still on the door.

We witnessed something even more shocking. One dogs could be seen repeatedly peeking its head out of a broken window from the front of the home.

Nigiel, once a dog lover, says he doesn't want another dog to come near him. Now he has a message for all dog owners.

"What was going through my mind was all people who have a dog make sure you put them on a strong leash and in the back yard not front."

We also spoke to Animal Control. Drale Short, Manager of Special Enforcement tells News Leader 9, owners are required to have their dogs on a leash when leaving the property.

In Nigiel's case, Animal Control officials say the owner of the pit bull that attacked him violated the leash law when his dog broke loose from his leash, which was attached to a stake in the front yard.

From an enforcement standpoint, the dog will be checked for rabies, quarantined for 10 days while the city conducts a thorough investigation to determine if the dog should be classified as vicious or dangerous.

A classification would require the dog's owner to follow certain requirements including building a secure kennel, muzzling the dog's mouth when outside and submitting to annual visits from the city.

So far this year the city has received 74 bite reports and 151 bite reports in 2015, which included scratch marks from cats.

Nigiels family says they plan to file a civil suit against the dog owner.

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