Mother Terrorized at Grave
UPDATE 07/01/14: In a painfully ominous development, the mother of John Harvard, who was brutally attacked and killed by a neighbor's pit bull in April, was recently terrorized by a pit bull while visiting her son's grave. This is the second time this has occurred and the last time with this pit bull. After the dog charged at her on Sunday while visiting her son's grave, Johnna Harvard scrambled into her car and called 911. A Pell City Police officer responded and shot the dog dead.
Harvard captured the incident on video. "She had to shoot it. When that happened yesterday, I was shocked the dog was still there. It charged; it was not going to stop."
After losing a son to a dog attack and almost becoming a victim, Harvard says there needs to be stronger leash laws and regulations, especially where pit bulls are concerned.
"We need to do something on a state level because that was the closest I've ever felt to death and I had that fear of being chased by an animal. I felt like I felt what my son felt and no one should feel that way." - ABC 33/40
Johnna correctly states, "These dogs are everywhere." This includes cemeteries. In the raw video, Johnna weeps -- she cannot believe this is happening as she kneels beside her son's grave, still covered in beautiful flowers. The loud gunshot by the Pell City Police officer followed by her tears serves as a reminder of how real the pit bull problem is and why it no longer can be ignored. To read Johnna's full account of the attack that took her son's life, please visit Daxton's Friends.
06/18/14: Pit Bull Owner Indicted
A St. Clair County grand jury indicted the owner of a pit bull on a charge of criminally negligent homicide, a misdemeanor, in connection to the death of 5-year old John Harvard. On June 17, Johnny Ray Kay Sr., 57, of Riverside, turned himself in following his indictment. "Evidence obtained by the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department into the death investigation of John Harvard was presented to a grand jury last week," St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor said.
Minor said that if Kay is convicted of criminally negligent homicide, he could face up to one year in jail and a $6,000 fine. Kay is scheduled to be in court for his arraignment on August 13. Both Kay and the victim's father, Jeremy Harvard, declined comment on Wednesday. Last month, however, Harvard said that he had never seen the dog until after it attacked his son. He said his children had never played with the dog either -- disputing several media reports that followed the attack.1
Harvard said he last saw his son alive next to the front porch. He had his bicycle upside down and was putting a chain on it. Harvard said he went inside to change his clothes. About 5-minutes later, his older son came into the bedroom yelling, "A dog is on John!" Harvard grabbed his pistol and ran out of the house. He first yelled at the dog then shot at the animal several times in order to retrieve his son. Harvard rushed his younger son to the hospital, but he did not survive his injuries.
04/11/14: Parents Interviewed
In an emotional interview that aired at 5 pm CST on ABC 33/40, the parents of a little boy mauled to death by a neighbor's pit bull spoke out publicly for the first time about their horror and loss. Jeremy Harvard, the little boy's father, told ABC 33/40, "It's sad because I read a story on Facebook the other day about a 5-year old being mauled by a pit bull," said Harvard. "And I never dreamed I'd be talking about that to you today, because it happened to us. It happened to John."
Readers should know that there will likely come a day when a great majority of Americans will know a person or pet who has been mauled by a pit bull. This sentiment was also recently echoed by a Winston-Salem Journal columnist after 3-year old Braelynn Coulter was killed by her family's pet pit bull: "Anecdotally, many of us know that pit bulls are trouble. Increasingly, more of us know someone who’s been attacked by a pit bull, or whose dog has been attacked," John Railey states.
We ask readers to once again review the 31-Year Summary of Pit Bull Trends (1982 to 2013)
04/10/14: Pit Bull Euthanized
New information has been released about the mauling death of 5-year old John Harvard who was brutally attacked and killed by a neighbor's pit bull on April 6. The pit bull was reportedly only 8-months old, according to the Daily Mail, and has since been euthanized. The City of Riverside does not have a leash law. However, St. Clair Undersheriff Billy Murray said that law enforcement would still likely consult with the St. Clair County District Attorney's Office about the evidence.
Because the dog was technically "at large" when it attacked the boy (and also lived next door to the boy in a semi-rural area), there has been a flurry of attention on "passing a leash law" to prevent similar future tragedies. Every town has to start somewhere and in semi-rural and rural communities, it usually starts at the base level of a leash law. A balloon release event is being organized for Saturday to help Riverside community members say goodbye to John Harvard.
View John Harvard tribute video
04/07/14: Burial Fund Started
A family friend or relative has started the John Triton Harvard Burial Fund at fundly.com. "Please help a grieving mother bring her deceased child home with her to California for a burial surrounded by family and siblings," states Jodi who created the page. The boy's mother, who had been staying in California with family, "has begun the 2,300 mile journey to retrieve her precious son's body and bring it home to rest in peace forever near her and his siblings," states the More Info of the fund.
04/06/14: Pit Bull Kills Child
St. Clair County, AL - In a developing story, a 5-year old boy died Sunday after being attacked by a pit bull in Riverside, Mayor Rusty Jessup told ABC 33/40. The victim was playing with his 9-year old brother when the animal attacked him, according to Jessup. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police have identified the 5-year old boy as John Harvard. ABC 33/40 has a crew en route to the scene and will be livestreaming from the scene.
WVTM adds additional details about the attack. Jessup said the attack occurred just after 4:00 pm Sunday. The two brothers were playing in their yard when an 80-pound pit bull came onto their property and attacked the younger boy, Jessup said. The 9-year old tried to get the animal off his brother, but could not. He ran into their house to get help. The father ran back outside and shot at the pit bull. The boy was rushed to St. Vincent's Hospital in St. Clair County, where he died.
02/28/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: 3-Year Old Girl Killed by Family Pit Bull in North Carolina
02/28/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: 4-Year Old Girl Killed by Dogs in Tallassee, Alabama
Photo: ABC 33/40
I grew up on the Coosa River and Logan Martin Lake is a beautiful place. I had never heard of Riverside but then I haven't been there in years. If I heard this video correctly…there are no leash laws in this city. But even with leash laws this would have probably still happened. This is the same county where Donald Thomas was killed by Rottweilers last year. Another family shattered by the pit bull culture.
The breed should be completely eradicated from earth forevermore.
I teared up when I saw yet another death.
I'm scared for my own babies. They cannot even play outdoors now, without threat of a monster killing them in the most brutal fashion. This dad did have a gun, but the dog was quick with its killing. at least it won't live to kill again.
Kids being torn to pieces.in their own yards, toddlers ripped from adults arms and mauled to death, kids killed on the walk from school, this is madness.
if there wad a person going around doing this, or a group.of people, we would call them serial killers, and hunt them down. no expense would be spared, then they would likely get the death penalty.
but a pit bull? Free to terrorize, kill, and maim. everyday. then idiots defend them, instead.of doing the obvious thing and wiping them from the ad.of the earth. all bull breeds, stating with pits, staffs, am bulls and bull mastiffs.
Amen Mr Finch.
Interesting how the name of the dog owner is kept out of the news, along with the dog's origin….was it from a breeder or a local rescue? No interest in determining where these killer dogs are coming from. Wouldn't it be in the interest of public safety for the owners of this dogs littermates…after all, this dog was only 8 months old…to know that their own dogs may also be genetically predisposed to deadly aggressive behavior?
When people die in a car accident because of a mechanical defect, everyone wants full disclosure…what was the make and model of the car, how old was the car, what factory was the car built in?
Why should it be any different with dogs? Who is breeding these killer dogs, who is selling them, or "adopting" them out to the public?
Branwyne Finch asked these questions:
Who is breeding these killer dogs, who is selling them, or "adopting" them out to the public?
To which I say:
Here in Pima County, Arizona, the "adopting" out is being done by our taxpayer funded shelter at the Pima Animal Care Center. The Humane Society of Southern Arizona also does a brisk business in pit bulls.
Same here Your Quiet Neighbor. The city/county promotes these monsters on their own website! They even say they are great for families! When there is a tragedy, I hope they get sued over this nonsense.
Our city made the mistake of contracting with the local humane society to take over shelter services. This is the first step to disaster, and is pushed by people that think that every public function ought to be privatized, as well as those who want to see "animal lovers" in charge. It's a perfect storm of liberal and conservative idiocy- you know if those two groups agree on something, there is trouble to come.
Naturally, once this happens, the humane society declares their goal of "No Kill" (aka SLOW kill"), puts up enormous barriers to relinquishing pets: only friendly animals, only by appointment on Thursdays10-11am, with a $100 fee, after a mandatory waiting/foster period. (No stray/feral cats- they get S/N and put out to die).
Now, instead of PTS all pit bulls, and any animal with behavioral issues, you get a "crack team" of "behaviorists" (aka dog lovers that took a few webinars and own dogs) that spend lots of time intensively "training" these maulers (and they are usually maulers) how to not bite (true story!).
The cash spent on these staff members, their time to "fix" such animals, and the extra, specially made, isolated, long term housing (because no one wants these dogs, even for free), means that normal dogs, and all stray cats, get left in the cold. So many are denied shelter, and put right back on the streets, all while saving killers.
Then, a kid gets mauled or killed, and everyone shames the owner, who was probably talked into adopting a "lab mix that loves people!". They ignore the humane society (aka pit bull pushers, animal killers) that has made this happen, and all the voters that thought "no kill" sounded so swell.
IT'S NOT WORTH IT.
Cities are making their own problems.
8 months old? OMG.
And people tell me I am paranoid about our neighbors already enormous, 8 mo old pit bull. I make the kids come inside anytime their door is open, and now the kids cannot play on the playground unless I'm there too (playground is out my back door. It's also out the pit bulls back door).
I HATE these people for ruining what was a nice, relaxing place to play with their MAULER.
It's a "therapy" dog, of course, as our apartments otherwise ban big dogs. It lives in a cage 18 hours a day, and get out to take one walk and a few pees. Sadly, two small kids just moved in there, one sweet 5yr old boy and his 1 yr old sister. The dog is their grandfathers. The kid told me it runs around the house knocking everyone over. Disaster waiting to happen.
@RSM: Here's the adoption list from our tax-supported animal shelter. Note the prevalence of pit bulls. http://webcms.pima.gov/cms/One.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=34986
Have you ever tried to train a lab not to retrieve? Same idea as trying to train a pit not to attack. Ludicrous.
I wish that organizations such as BadRap that lobby and try to promote pits as family dogs would spend as much time and money promoting responsible dog ownership. They could even make some extra money selling pit-proof enclosures. If pit owners would even try to keep their dogs on their own property where they belong, instead of inflicting them on the rest of us, at least some of these horrible deaths and maulings could be avoided. I have met a lot of people that own these horrors-in-the-making and only one of them made even an attempt at keeping the dogs on his property. Anyone around here that has a decent fence put it up to keep the neighbor's dogs out.
"They could even make some extra money selling pit-proof enclosures."
You mean like this one? I wish they would.
Sputnik, I don't think I would trust it. That removable floor looks like an escape hatch, especially with it being so light. Maybe I could transport my goats in it.
I just really wish that pit people would promote responsible ownership. I don't understand why they all let their dogs run free. Even if you don't care about other people, it's dangerous for the dog.
I'm so sorry that this little boy was killed. These animals and their owners create so much sadness and horror. Pets should bring only happiness and comfort.
So sad that this mother was harassed by pit bulls AT HER SON'S GRAVE.
So glad the officer shot the charging pit bull.
So heartbreaking hearing her cry and fears from this pitbull the very reason she has to visit her baby's grave. It's never going to end. Too many laws protecting the monsters.
Farmer Jane: I agree-'responsible' pit owner is practically an oxymoron. I've seen a few pits around me even though they're banned here (pit owners don't need no stinkin' laws!). One is SO dog aggressive it runs through the house and SLAMS into the GLASS door-how long before it goes through? I've also seen this dog running like mad off leash between the house and car. Kids like there-at one point they had a sign out front advertising drum lessons for kids. Another has a huge APBT-saw that one off leash in a neighbors front yard, idiot owner screaming from her front door-across from an elementary school. I'd bet good money neither one of these pitiots even owns a break stick.
Even where there ARE leash laws dog owners don't care, and pit owners in particular, because there are no REAL consequences until someone is dead or near dead, IF then. It should be an automatic $250 fine for a first offense, no appeal, for any dog. $500 for a second, $750 and court date for third. Fourth, your dog is confiscated and you are banned from dog ownership.