Grandma's Pit Bull Attacks
Aurora, CO - In a mauling that will send further shockwaves into a city that bans pit bulls and other fighting breeds, a 4-year old Aurora girl suffered a severe bite to the face from her grandmother's illegal pit bull while visiting the child's home.
According to a City of Aurora Animal Care Division incident report, the victim, Neveah Marner, was at home with her mother Tiffany Stroh and her mother's boyfriend Peter Rogers. The 4-year-old girl was alone in a bedroom with her grandmother's pit bull "Blue" when the dog bit her in the face.
After hearing the child scream, Stroh and Rogers rushed into the bedroom and found the 78-pound dog with the girl's face in its mouth.
Neveah was rushed to Aurora South Medical Center by ambulance where she was treated for multiple cuts to her nose and cheeks. She also lost three teeth in the attack. Neveah underwent one surgery right away and doctors say there will be more surgeries and a long recovery moving forward.
The dog belongs to the girl's paternal grandmother Phyliss Sharp, 51. Sharp lives in a different apartment complex but the dog periodically stays with Neveah and her mother, according to the official report. Sharp said, "It was a terrible event terrible tragedy." She added, "They [pit bulls] do a lot more damage when they do bite."
Sharp failed to license the dog with the City of Aurora, even though she knew it was required for pit bulls. The dog also had not been vaccinated for rabies. Sharp was not in the apartment when her granddaughter was attacked, but she did return to take the dog before police and animal control officers arrived to impound the dog.
As her granddaughter, Neveah, was lying in an ER hospital bed, Sharp proceeds to lie to authorities about the whereabouts of the dog.
First she told investigators that she gave the dog away at a dog park in Lakewood and didn't know who she had given the dog to. Later she said that she had "dumped the dog" in Lakewood. Investigators eventually convinced Sharp to bring the dog to Aurora Animal Shelter where Blue is now quarantined.
Aurora City Councilman Bob Fitzgerald says this type of situation is exactly why he wrote the ordinance banning pit bulls from his city. "These dogs bite, they have crushing jaws, they go off in an instant," Fitzgerald said, listing the many reasons he felt compelled to fight for the ban two years ago.
"We have this law for a purpose and it's to protect our people. If you don't want to live up to the law, go somewhere else."
Unsurprisingly, grandmother Sharp thinks the dog attacked "because she's a dog and she's an animal and it was animal instinct." Sharp is now charged with keeping a vicious, aggressive or dangerous animal, having a restricted breed of dog and for not having her dog vaccinated for rabies.
It is unlikely that images of her granddaughter's new face will keep Sharp up at night.
04/24/08: Despite Ban, Some Pit Bull Owners Get a Break