Monday, May 3, 2010
From left: Brianna Watkins, offending pit bull and its owner Demetrius Miles.
Columbus, GA - Last November, 12-year old Brianna Watkins was brutally attacked by a pit bull that scaled a 5-foot fence to get into her yard. She initially thought the dog was trying to play with her, until the animal tripped her1 and began attacking her head. Brianna suffered the lost of most of her scalp, both ears and facial nerve damage to the extent that she can no longer smile. In January, the dog's owner, Demetrius Miles,2 was charged with reckless conduct.
Late last week, WTVM published a special report about the incident. In a one-on-one interview, Watkins, now 13-years old, spoke about the attack. When asked, "Do you feel a little self-conscious about they way that you look right now?" She said: "If someone doesn't like the way you look then they are not good people." We praise Brianna's courage,3 yet also realize the insensitive, and at times cruel, teasing and bullying that classmates may inflict upon her in the future.
After the attack, Columbus investigators thought her injuries were so severe that she might die. Afraid they may never get the chance to talk to Brianna about the incident, they found a lab in Texas that specializes in animal DNA. They sent evidence to the Texas group to determine which dog inflicted the attack. Authorities are still waiting for the results.4 After weeks in the hospital, however, Brianna began to improve and was able to identify the dog that maimed her.
A male pit bull named Debo that lived two doors down.The pit bull continues to be held in captivity at the Animal Control facility on Milgen Road where a court order issued by Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters is attached to its cage. Debo cannot be released or put to sleep, until the DNA results come in. Brianna wants the dog put to sleep. "I don't want anything to happen to anybody else if that dog got loose," she said. Demetrius Miles has since pled not guilty and his case is now in state court.5
So far, Brianna has undergone two surgeries. Doctors have removed muscle from her back to cover her exposed skull and replace her scalp. A procedure scheduled for this week will help recreate one of her ear canals. Her grandfather said, "She's got many, many more surgeries on down the road. It's going to take a long time for us to heal and for her to heal mentally and physically." The victim's family intends to file a civil lawsuit against the owner of the pit bull.
Rehabilitation Fund for Brianna Watkins
A fund has been set up for Brianna Watkins. You can make donations at any SunTrust Bank under the "Rehabilitation Fund for Brianna Watkins."
Related ZUPF video
2Demetrius Miles MySpace page reveals that he may also own a female pit bull, named Baby Girl, as well as other pit bulls. He left an interesting comment on one photo about handling the "dogs like a pro." If the child was bent down just a little further, she would depict the "classic dogfighter pose."
3A former student at Midland Middle School in Columbus, Brianna is now being home-schooled as she recuperates.
4The DNA results may take up to eight months to arrive.
5Ben Richardson, the Solicitor General who oversees the state court system in Muscogee County, said his office is trying to upgrade the charges to a felony. Richardson is waiting on the medical diagnosis and whether or not Brianna will be permanently disfigured.
11/09/09: Collection of Pit Bull Scalp Attack Victims - DogsBite.org
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| 5/03/2010 2:16 PM |
First, when are these breeding operations going to get cracked down on? The operators don't pay taxes, and end up costing these cities and towns a vast amount.
A tax investigation needs to be part of this and other attacks.
Second, the laws need to be changed so that vicious dogs are euthanized IMMEDIATELY. They aren't inanimate objects, they are a danger to shelter personell, and even if someone wins a case they have no right to get a vicious dog back to kill or attack again. These cases also need to be moved up in the court calendar and addressed immediately, due to the immediate danger to other people from these dogs.
The owner of the property where these dogs were allowed to be housed needs to be sued.
I also hope that if the city failed to respond to complaints about this owner's dogs, this young girl's family will sue the city.
If these cities and towns have decided they are in the pit bull protection business, they need to be held accountable.
They are now, in many cases.
| 5/03/2010 7:00 PM |
One of the saddest parts of this to me was how the child thought the animal was trying to play with her. This illustrates a very important point about pit bull attacks. These dogs rarely telegraph intent. They also even sometimes lie, engaging in play language to get their prey to drop his/her guard and leave an opening, just as this child did. Defective breeding. Defective product. Time for a mass "recall".
| 5/04/2010 7:26 AM |
A normal dog will use exactly enough aggression when threatened to open up a flight route. Anything else is abnormal behavior in a dog.
Any dog -- pit bull or otherwise -- that executes a sustained, maiming or killing attack on another dog or a human should be euthanized immediately. A dog that does this once will do it again. 'Rehabilitation' is a fantasy held by those who don't understand the laws of behavior. And by those who deny genetics.
I am all for banning ALL the breeds that have been specifically bred to do this. Also all mixes that include genes of one of these breeds. But aside from breed -- once a dog has done this, it has done and failed the only really crucial behavior test: it has shown what it will do in the real world. Further 'testing' in a shelter is unnecessary.
If we were to adopt a policy of immediately euthanizing any and every dog that does something like this, that'd go a long way in making people take care their pit bulls really don't escape.
| 5/04/2010 11:26 AM |
Katie Weeks also suffers from facial nerve damage:
The 27-year-old single mother of four said she paced nonstop during the more than six hours it took surgeons to repair Saleena Wickward's face following an April 19 attack by a neighbor's pit bull terrier. "We don't know if she'll have feeling in the right side of her face," she said. "It's a nightmare." Weeks said the attack left Saleena with deep psychological scars along with the physical ones. They're evident in the heartbreaking dreams she's had, illustrating the little girl's resentment toward what has happened to her appearance. "She'll wake up screaming 'You're ugly!'"
| 5/04/2010 5:20 PM |
We are still in the dark ages about laws regarding dog attacks. At one time, dogs did a service to attack horse thieves or cattle rustlers that came onto your property. Therefore dogs were allowed to do whatever on their own property as far as attacks because it was assumed that if you were on someone's property, you were there for no good.
Another law still on the books is the one bite allowed. That should not apply to an all out maulings. We live in such a world now that these outdated laws need to be changed.
I do a presentation at Neighborhood Watch groups. Since it has to relate to safety, I go from the point of view that altering is in that vein. How many times have I heard that we want our dog to guard the house. Only problem with that is the dog is in the back yard and I ask what the hell is the dog guarding back there? Do you keep your valuables in a hole in the backyard? And while your wife and daughter are being raped in the house, what is your guard dog doing? The world has changed and our laws need to change with it.
| 5/05/2010 2:18 PM |
OMG OMG OMG. That poor dear child. As a mother, I imagine I would kill a pit with my bare hands if something like this ever happened to my child...I mean, that's the rage and anger I would feel. My stomach is just in knots from reading some of the pit nutter comments. I've got to stop doing that...It's like trying to convince a flat-earther that the world in round...
| 5/06/2010 9:01 AM |
"I started running towards the door and the dog tripped me up and that's how he got my face," said Zachary.
| 5/06/2010 10:15 AM |
Trigger, thanks for sharing that. Here is a bill that will hold owner's accountable -- yet I have no doubt that the pit nutters will rally together to fight this bill tooth and nail. They are such hypocrites!
| 5/13/2010 10:45 AM |
MAY 12, 2010 -- It's a DNA match:
Detectives say they are a match to the pit bull the victim has already identified as the one that attacked her. Thirteen-year-old Brianna Watkins lost both of her ears and most of her scalp when she was mauled at her Columbus home six months ago. Afraid she might pass away from her injuries, police found a specialized lab in Texas to help identify the dog that left her mutilated. As she started recovering, Brianna pointed to a neighbor's pit bull named Debo as the one that mauled her and he's been held captivity. Investigators confirm the DNA results are a positive match to Debo.
| 11/12/2010 11:30 AM |
Nov 12, 2010 - COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus man admits his pet was behind an attack that has left a little girl mutilated. Demetrius Miles pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor reckless conduct charge in state court Friday.
Demetrius Miles was sentenced to 12 months probation, 240 hours of community service and 10 weekends in jail.
| 8/13/2017 10:28 PM |
Wow! It is so good to hear from you. You are indeed all grown up! I am so glad that you are healthy and are engaged! Congratulations! You writing in reminds us how long we have been at this; it will be 10 years this October. Many of the victims we wrote about in the early years are now adults, like yourself. Thank you so much for writing in. You are a courageous survivor of a vicious dog attack.