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Baby's Toes Chewed Off by Pit Bull

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Should pit bulls be illegal for people with children?


Should pit bulls really be household pets? Maybe not with children in the house. In yet another gruesome pit bull story, a North Carolina couple is facing felony child abuse charges after a pit bull chewed off their 4-month-old son's toes, police say. According to reports, Robie Lynn Jenkins and her boyfriend, Tremayne Spillman, were asleep while Jenkins' infant son was left without any supervision alone with the dog. When Robie awoke, she discovered several of the child's toes were missing, and that the pit bull had chewed them off. Horrifying.

Here are a few other cases that sent shivers down our spines:

  • A baby was sleeping in a bed when a pit bull went into the room and attacked the baby, dragging him to the floor. The baby's father said he came into the room and tried to get the dog off the baby. When he was unable to free the baby, he shot the dog.

  • 3-year-old Tony Evans was found dead in front of the doghouse after being attacked by a pit bull. The pit bull was chained to the house, but made its way to the boy.

  • 5-year-old Pablo Hernandez was mauled to death by the family pit bull in their backyard. He was dragged around the backyard, suffering major damage to his face, head, and torso, and died shortly after from his injuries.
  • 1-year-old Abraham Jonathan Tackett wandered into the neighbor's backyard where several husky mixed breeds were eating. The father found the child as he was being attacked, but could not save him. According to reports, the dog that attacked was protecting his food.
  • 2-year-old Holden Jernigan was attacked and killed by the family's pit bull. While under his grandmother's care, he wandered into the backyard, where he was brutally attacked.

  • 6-year-old Sabin Jones-Abbott was attacked by the family's new pit bull/boxer mix as he went to feed it. The boy's father found his lifeless body in their home.

  • 15-month-old Charlotte Blevins was seriously injured when she and her mom, her mom's friend, and another baby on an afternoon walk were attacked by a pit bull when the dog escaped from its leash.

  • 2-year-old Amaya Hess had a pit bull latch onto her head with his mouth for 5 to 8 minutes. The claw end of a hammer was used to open the dog's jaw to release her. Amaya's scalp was missing, her right eye torn out of its socket, and her right ear was torn from the side of her head. After 9 surgeries and 69 days of medically-induced coma, Amaya is facing years of reconstructive surgery. Doctors estimate she'll have somewhere between 30 to 40 surgeries over her lifetime.


Are dogs safe for kids?

We spoke with Colleen Lynn, founder of, who said some are -- and some aren't. "There are aggressive breeds of dogs, including pit bulls and rottweilers, that I don't think are appropriate to have around children. They don't have a good safety record, and you are definitely taking a chance."

Lynn, who survived a pit bull attack herself a year ago, says even going to someone's house where a pit bull or a dangerous breed lives is an unnecessary risk for your children. "These dogs were bred for violence," she says. "It's in their genes. Even if they have good owners, love is not going to take genetics away. Why take the chance, if it could cost your kid his or her life?"

Of course, some dog owners (particularly pit bull owners) disagree. One mother named Elyse posted the following video of her baby, Max, with her pit bull on YouTube:

Whether you are pro-dog or anti-dog, everyone agrees you should never leave a baby or small child unattended with a dog under any circumstances (even if it's the family pet). For more dog bite prevention tips, click here.

Do you think dogs are dangerous for kids?

next: You Can Raise a Savvy Eater
41 comments so far | Post a comment now
dolphinpsycho September 4, 2009, 1:54 PM

The information provided here isn’t entirely accurate. The mother was acutally in the room, asleep on medication and didn’t hear the child screaming. The bottom line is the parents were negligent and this could have happened with a pitbull or a pomeranian. It’s how you raise your animals, not their breed, that determines how they will behave.

Kris September 4, 2009, 3:25 PM

It has NOTHING to do with breed and EVERYTHING to do with the PARENTS and the BREEDEERS. I grew up with APBTs and ROtts. I was NEVER bitten while growing up. My FIRST real dog bite/attack came from a LAB that was trying to take my goddaughter’s hot dog while at the park.

To the poster with the Scotty - if you think that lil bugger can’t do damage you are wrong.

Children ESPECIALLY children who are not taught how to behave around animals and how to respect them do not need to be left around dogs of ANY breed unsupervised.

Its more than just how you raise them its also how they are bred. If people would stop going to pet stores and buy from joe blow who was too stupid to fix their dog or just bred because they fell like it the rate of ALL dog attacks not just on children would go down. Why? Because reputable breeders breed for sound temperament and will NOT sell to someone they cannot be sure is 100% suitable for their breed.

Also for a side not the dog did NOT belong to the NC couple. They were dog sitting for a friend who was tossed in jail for drug or weapons possession. A badly bred untrained dog left int he irresponsible hands of two parents with a child. A disaster just waiting to happen. The mother has also claimed to have taken sleeping pills. What mother takes sleeping pills during the DAY when she has a 4 month old sleeping not in his crib but on a pull out? If they make her sleep THAT deeply that she can’t hear hr child screaming in pain and terror there is something wrong and more going on than just “sleeping pills”

Lindsay September 5, 2009, 6:43 AM

I HATE reading stories like this. I have had two pit bulls, one was purebred and one was mixed with a lab. The purebred one would hide under the coffee table if she heard someone knock on the door, and the mixed one was hyper (because of the lab in him) but other than that the most danger he would ever put anyone in was because he thought he was a lap dog. Pit bulls are just the breed right now…it was dobermans before, and german shepherds, and I think after Cujo came out, it was St. Bernards for awhile wasn’t it? For all those saying that they would never let their children around dogs, that’s your decision but I grew up with dogs and my children are too. It’s a matter of watching what goes on with them, teaching them how to treat the dog, or any animal for that matter…ANY animal has the potential to turn nasty. And if that part wants to be argued (“Well, if any animal can turn on them then why trust them around any of them?”) then keep your kids indoors, don’t let anyone in or out of the house. People have the same potential to do stupid effed up stuff. Look at that girl in Winnipeg, she didn’t know the people who’s 14 month old she took out of bed, took outside and smashed her face on the sidewalk repeatedly. Or how about the case of 5 month old baby Brianna, whose parents and uncle raped, beat, bit, and threw her on the floor numerous times? Don’t make judgement calls on animals when society is 1,000 times worse.

And for the person who wondered why the mother didn’t wake up when the baby was getting his toes chewed off…she was too heavily medicated to hear the baby screaming even though he was sleeping in the same room as her. YAY FOR GOOD PARENTS.

John September 5, 2009, 8:41 PM

I think a lot of people here base their opinions and fears on biased media. Of course we don’t see the headlines “Baby killed by Cocker Spaniel” because humans cannot make money of fighting them. Pit bulls were originally bread to bait large bulls for hunters. Through evolution their skin is tougher so they have a large pain threshold so people train them to fight and train them for aggression. If you actually look into statistics and facts, the most likely dogs to attack people are Golden Retrievers and Dalmatians. You know why Golden Retrievers, because everyone has one as a pet, when an intruder breaks into a home, even Air bud can bite, and Dalmatians are the most inbred dogs in the world since they were nearly extinct breeders turned to inbreeding to keep the bloodlines pure. When was the last time you heard of the firehouse dog tearing someone’s arms off? Or even the Military trained sheapards? They do only what they are trained to do. Socialize your dog and correct the first signs of aggression so your dog knows this is not to be tolerated. Who has ever seen a dog bite without barking and growling first? Obviously a baby wouldn’t recognize this behavior but a trained adult needs to see this and correct it before it leads to biting. Oh and for the comments that it’s all genetic. Explain to me how Caesar Milan has many pitbulls that have NEVER attacked a person. If it’s genetic don’t you think they would have bit one of the other dogs in his group or him? NO because he knows how to correct the aggression before it’s an issue.

ILoveMyPit September 7, 2009, 5:55 PM

I have a 3 year old male pitbull and a 2 year old niece.. he is EXCELLENT with her… I hate hearing about stories with pitbull attacks because most of the time the dog is not really a pitbull. I was scared of dogs before I got my pitbull and now I love them. I will never go without a pitbull in my home again. I have 2 cats that my pitbull has been around since they were kittens and he plays with them and has never done anything to them. It is all how you raise them. I have changed so many peoples opinions on pits since I have had mine. No one is going to tell me what kind of dog I have when I have children. The parents need to be the ones to blame when they have babies around ANY animal unsupervised. In the article almost all the “attacks” they said were when the parents werent watching there children….people just dont want to step and accept the blame so they find a cop-out answer and blame the poor helpless dog.

Matt September 15, 2009, 10:54 AM

“She got put to sleep because she would get out and since she is a pit they wanted to put her down even though she never hurt anyone. And I totally understood that.”

what??? you let someone kill your dog because it got out of the house?? shame on you.

this article is sheer idiocy. there is no such breed as “pit bull.”

and FYI, “pit bulls” were once known as “nanny dogs.” they are not aggressive toward humans.

lilikindsli October 1, 2009, 6:39 AM

etelXL I want to say - thank you for this!

Globals October 3, 2009, 5:02 AM

all good things

SINTIJA October 22, 2009, 4:30 AM

a pitbull is not a toy trrier or have to watch not baby only but play with the dog.if you hawe no brain to understand that your dog needs more shouldnt have pitbull.pitbull ovner.famyly person.

Anonymous October 23, 2009, 2:48 PM

While I used to think it was how you raised them, I have changed my mind. WHen my son was younger someone gave us what we think was a pit bull. We always thought she was but some people didn’t, she was smaller and didn’t have the big square jaw. Anyhow, she was very sweet and very tolerant of our toddler. She was also very protective of him. I never worried about him but he was never out of my sight either. She got put to sleep because she would get out and since she is a pit they wanted to put her down even though she never hurt anyone. And I totally understood that. Now we have another toddler, our daughter and I am so glad we don’t have that dog anymore. All those tragedies have happened since we had ours and I am just glad I don’t have to worry about her. We now have a little Scotty.
Please never get another dog. You sound like a terrible person. I don’t think you should have kids either. Instead of taking responsibilty of your dog you let animal ontrol kill her. You are awful.

I have a black version of the dog in the video. She’s a mutt that may be part pitbull. Breed legislation could potentially kill her and she is owned responsibly unlike the person I quoted.

mk March 4, 2010, 12:51 PM

just wait until the baby in the video gets older and starts grabbing the dog’s tail and pulling it around by it’s collar and hitting it! Kids are crazy around dog’s, at least from what ive seen.

Ash April 19, 2010, 6:28 PM

I know this thread is quite old, but I just thought I’d mention that after looking into this story further, authorities suspect that it was the ferret that was also running loose in the house that did this, not the puppy.

And, though I don’t think it will happen, don’t start blaming the ferret. Ferrets chew. They don’t have any way of knowing that they’re not supposed to chew on a baby’s toes. The people to blame here are the parents who let a baby, a young puppy, and a ferret roam the house unsupervised and fell so deeply asleep that they couldn’t hear the baby screaming (and I kinda doubt they were sleeping that deeply naturally).

Anonymous January 31, 2011, 8:42 AM

Unfortunatly i know the feeling of this. My younger brother was attacked by a pitbull and a bullmastiff at the same time the one had him by the head and drug him accross the floor and the pitbull had him by the arm just pipping it off. His arm is just hanging there at this point they want to try and save it but there not sure if he can he needs alot of reconstructive surgery. but i am just glad i found this website where people can be aware of these dangerous animals February 25, 2011, 3:08 PM

omg thats crazy yea it should illegal for pits to be around children not if u have them

faithcooper February 25, 2011, 3:10 PM

omg thats crazy yea it should illegal for pits to be around children not if u have them

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