Authorities Identify Child
UPDATE 08/08/14: Sheriff's officials have released the name of the young boy killed by two pit bulls while visiting his aunt's home. Joel Chirieleison, the son of Joel Claar and Kristy Chirieleison, had been staying at his aunt's house while his father was at work. The child's aunt, Heather Claar, took the 6-year old boy's father to work that morning then took Joel to her home to watch him. This arrangement had been going on for weeks, according to Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum.
Joel Chirieleison is the 250th American killed by pit bulls since the CDC stopped tracking dog bite fatality data by breeds in 1998.1
08/08/14: Child Dies in Aunt's Care
HardisonInk.com reported new information on Friday about the fatal pit bull mauling. The child had stayed at the home with his aunt and grandfather for the past three or four days before the attack, according to Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum. When he went outside to play about 8:15 am, two pit bulls, which live at the house, had been let out in the yard. At the time of the attack, the aunt was packing things so that she and the boy could visit her mother, the boy's grandmother.
In a video published by WCJB-TV on Thursday, the aunt is named as the owner of the two pit bulls. McCallum was also interviewed in the video. McCallum said, "He has been around [the dogs] for about a month. It is our understanding that the dogs had been in this family for a couple of years. There are other children in the household and there has never been any problem in the past with these dogs."
Names continue to be withheld until authorities can notify the boy's mother.
08/07/14: Attack Occurred Thursday
The Levy County Sheriff's Office has issued a press release stating that the 6-year old boy was attacked and killed by one or more dogs on Thursday. It was initially reported that the attack occurred on Tuesday. When responding deputies arrived on scene, the child was already dead. The child had injuries consistent with being attacked by a dog or dogs, according to the release. Animal control removed multiple dogs from the property. The investigation is ongoing.
This unnamed child marks the 250th American killed by pit bulls since the CDC stopped tracking dog bite fatality data by breeds in 1998.2
The Ocala StarBanner has also updated their news report. The 6-year old boy had played with his family's two pit bulls many times, but on Thursday morning the dogs suddenly attacked and killed him outside a Fanning Springs home. Before the attack, the boy's aunt had driven his father to work then taken the boy to the home she shares with the boy's grandfather. She let the boy go outside to play and the two dogs followed him. This was routine, according to authorities.
While the aunt and the grandfather were inside watching TV, the aunt looked outside and saw the boy lying in the driveway. She ran outside and the family called 911. First responders from multiple agencies arrived, but the boy was already dead. Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum said, "It appears right now to be a terrible tragedy." McCallum added that the dogs had never caused the family any problems before and that they were "well cared for" and current on all their shots.
Levy County Animal Control seized both pit bulls along with four other dogs on the property.
Visiting Children, Babysitters and Pit Bulls
Though information is still developing, it appears that once again, a child visiting the dog owner's home -- and often under the care of a babysitter at the time -- was mauled to death by the owner's pit bulls. The babysitters in this case were relatives watching the child while his father was at work. Most recently, other child fatality victims with similar scenarios include: 4-year old Kasii Haith (Delaware), 7-month old Jonathan Quarles Jr., (Ohio) and 4-year old Logan Sheppard (Florida).
08/07/14: Pit Bulls Kill Child
Fanning Springs, FL - In a developing story, two dogs attacked and killed a 6-year old child Tuesday morning. Despite already being two days later, few details are available, according to the Ocala StarBanner and Gainsville Sun.3 Levy County 911 Communications Center received a call at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday of a child attacked by two pit bulls at the park, according to the Levy County Department of Public Safety report. The child was already dead when first responders arrived.
Units from the Fanning Springs Fire Department, LCDPS, Medic 2 and Battalion 1, LCSO, and Levy County Animal Control responded to the scene. Assisting the family was a victims' advocate from the Levy County Sheriff's Office. The Dixie County chaplain and Marion County Debriefing Team were called in to assist the first responders and dispatchers involved. Fanning Springs has a population of 764 people and is located in Gilchrist and Levy counties, according to Wikipedia.
3One commenter is stating that the attack was Thursday morning and only involved one dog.
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