Hannah Returns from the Hospital
UPDATE 4/30/08: A female pit bull terrier that attacked Hannah Shreves has been euthanized. Charges may be filed against the dog’s owner. Hannah was scheduled to be released from a Morgantown hospital on Tuesday night, says Becky Oreskovich, who witnessed the attack.
Oreskovich and her husband, Dr. Jason Oreskovich, a family medicine specialist in Morgantown, live next door to the Shreves. Their son Christopher and Hannah are best friends -- the two had been playing together when the attack happened. Both Becky and Hannah's mother Ann had raced after the screams that day.
Becky says she knows a few things about pit bulls, "You’ve got to choke them or beat them to get them off somebody." This is what her and Ann tried to do. Fortunately, after Ann punched the dog, it let go. Becky snatched up Hannah and headed up the hill. Ann was behind her and suffered bites from the dog as he chased her back to the house.
How you can help Hannah
Monetary donations can be made at any Wesbanco location or mailed to:
P.O. Box 178
Paden City, WV 26159
04/29/08: Hannah Shreves, 3-Years Old
Fairmont, WV - Just after arriving home from church, Ann Shreves, the mother of Hannah heard the unmistakable shrill screams from her child. Terrified, she ran toward them, but little did she know she would find her daughter, who had just stepped outside to play, being flung around by a savage pit bull.
Down the hill, about 75 yards and beyond a row of pine trees, a neighbor had just let his pit bull outside to get some exercise. He had the dog tied to a 20-foot rope, but the rope was anchored only by the weight of the man's foot. The large, white pit bull, dragging the long rope behind it, took off after Hannah, biting her face, arms and legs
"It just took chunks out of her," said Lois Stern, Hannah's grandmother. "It threw her in the air and started chewing on her."
Ann watched in horror as her daughter was being attacked. The pit bull owner came up the hill, got on his hands and knees and screamed at the dog to stop. Ann and Becky tried to wrestle away the dog from Hannah, prompting the beast to turn on Ann. The family's two mixed breed dogs, a Lab mix and a German Shepherd mix, ended up being saviors. Their barking somehow stopped the attack.
Both Ann and Hannah were taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital. Ann received several stitches on her arm and buttocks, but Hannah had to have reconstructive plastic surgery on her face in addition to dozens of other stitches. "Her right arm was pretty much mauled," Ann said. "Her left leg has chunks out of it. At least two chunks the size of a golf ball." Future surgeries are expected.
The dog, a female estimated to be between 70 and 90 pounds, was taken into custody by animal control and will be observed for ten days before being euthanized, said Duane Hawkinberry, Marion County animal control officer. He said the pit bull owners are sorry -- They never expected it.
Apparently these pit bull owners don't have a TV, have never read a newspaper, and have never talked to a single human being about the type of dog they own.
Ann's husband and Hannah's father, Andy, was away at work during the attack. He said he wished he had been alerted there was a pit bull living nearby. He said he knows how dangerous they can be. Officer Hawkinberry said he has seen many pit bull bites during his 12-year career in animal control. He shared some choice words about the breed:
"In my own opinion, I think all pit bulls should be outlawed. They are born to kill. I just feel they should be outlawed, or there should be strict guidelines."
Hannah does not look like her picture anymore. The Shreves family will never be the same. The dime a dozen pit bull owner, who claims to be unaware of the breed's danger, may face a small monetary fine. If this person is a renter and does not own a homeowners insurance policy that covers pit bulls, the Shreves may have to pay the medical costs.
The tragedy that has befallen the Shreves is hardly freakish. Pit bulls have been annihilating human beings and animals for over 20 years. Most animal organizations sit on the sidelines and watch. Pit bull and other lobbying groups pump the same old messages into the ears of public policy makers: "It's all in how you raise the dog."
Like Hannah's father, the vast majority of Americans know the truth: pit bulls are unpredictable and have a horrifying bite. These animals do not belong in our neighborhoods -- they do not belong in farming communities near livestock either. The only way to protect future Hannah's from being created is to regulate now.