Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

January 8, 2009

5-year-old killed by pit bulls in Thomasville

THOMASVILLE — The dogs that fatally attacked a five-year-old girl will be euthanized after an observation period.

Meanwhile, Thomasville police are continuing an investigation into the death and attack.

The child was pronounced dead a little before 5 p.m. Monday at Archbold Memorial Hospital. An autopsy is to be performed, officials said.

Police said they had been told that one of the pit bulls belonged to the child’s mother, the other to the mother’s live-in boyfriend. The dogs produced a puppy, which police said is about eight months old.

The dogs were in an enclosed back yard when the attack occurred late Monday afternoon.

“They had free run of the back yard at that time,” police detective Vince Ponder said Tuesday. “They were separated during feeding time.”

It is early in the investigation, Ponder said, adding that the little girl’s loved ones are distraught.

Ponder said the child’s relationship or habits with the dogs has not been determined.

A 14-year-old girl, the victim’s sister, also lives at the residence in the 100 block of Executive Drive.

According to, the United States has 4.7 million dog-bite victims annually and 1,000 Americans are treated daily in emergency rooms for dog bites. There were 33 fatal dog attacks nationwide in 2007, it said.

The Web site, which monitors dog-bite statistics, also said that most victims who receive medical attention are children, half of whom are bitten in the face and more than $300 million is paid annually by homeowners insurance in dog-bite cases.

Murray said the Thomasville girl had massive bites all over her body.

The dogs are being housed at the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society animal shelter.

“The family has requested they be euthanized,” said Carol Jones, shelter official.

The animals were to be euthanized within a few days, but they must be held for 10 days of rabies observation.

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