Child in hospital after dog attack

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A 2-year-old Augusta boy was still in the hospital Saturday after being mauled by several dogs Friday night.

According to a Richmond County sheriff's report, the boy's mother, Jessica Chavous, of the 3600 block of Belair Road, told officers her son Damien had climbed the fence to a neighbor's backyard where there were several dogs. The dogs bit Damien many times before his great-uncle rescued him about 8:40 p.m.

Damien was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital and was in critical condition Saturday night, said MCG spokeswoman Denise Parrish.

Diane Downs, the director of Augusta Animal Services, said the child was attacked by four dogs.

She said the owner, Shirley Andres Barnes, told her she had moved to Belvedere but had been returning every day to feed the dogs. Two other dogs in a fenced-in area in the front yard were not part of the mauling, Ms. Downs said.

Bill Swint, Damien's great-grandfather child and owner of their Belair Road home, said Saturday that his neighbor had been taking in stray animals for years. He said at one point, she had kept at least 15 dogs in her yard.

The fence between the properties is 4 feet high, and he thinks the dogs might have pulled the toddler over the fence.

He said the boy was bitten on his legs, arms, neck, shoulders and face.

Ms. Downs said animal control has visited Ms. Barnes' house several times in the past to remove animals.

Animal control officers took five of the dogs away Friday. One of the dogs in the front yard escaped. Animal control has not decided what will happen to the dogs, Ms. Downs said.

Reach Jonathan Overstreet at (706) 823-3708 or jonathan.overstreet@augustachronicle.com.

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Nammy3
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Nammy3 07/12/09 - 02:07 am
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Man, can you imagine the

Man, can you imagine the mental state of this child? He is going to FREAK out every time a dog comes near him. Somebody needs to see to it that he gets some serious help with this, starting now, so he "might" be able to cope later in life. Because it's going to affect him for a good long time to come. If he can EVER get over it. Lord Have Mercy!

Ode
5
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Ode 07/12/09 - 02:27 am
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Mr. Swint.....seriously? The

Mr. Swint.....seriously? The dogs pulled the child over the fence? It doesn't matter if the lady had 100 stray dogs in her fenced yard. Put the blame on your grandaughter where it belongs. She was negligent. She left a 2 year old unattended outside at night on a deck with no gate at the steps to keep the child on the deck. Stop trying to blame the dogs or dog owner and have your family take some responsibility for their actions.

justus4
103
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justus4 07/12/09 - 04:25 am
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Where are the charges for the
Unpublished

Where are the charges for the dog owner? What had they been feeding those animals? What about a criminal past? Who pays for the medical bills? Why have so many dogs? Are they breeding dogs? What is the city's policy on dogs? And oh, where are those criminal charges for the dog owners?

ladyjanegrey
0
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ladyjanegrey 07/12/09 - 05:04 am
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Uhhhh..this is "moms" fault

Uhhhh..this is "moms" fault and no one elses.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 07/12/09 - 06:25 am
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Where was mom? The dogs were

Where was mom? The dogs were fenced.

pops1
43
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pops1 07/12/09 - 06:25 am
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Why is a 2 yr old left out at

Why is a 2 yr old left out at night unattended????? I agree, this is mom's fault...Not the neighbors fault. Could have been just 1 dog. Baby has no business being unattended whether outside or inside. NEGLECT is what it is, from parent. Could be worst. Could be child abducted, murdered, and everyting else that happens to these poor babies. Unfortunate for baby to have gone through such a horrible ordeal. BLAME THE PARENTS for not watching child correctly. 2yrs old should have been in bed by that time.

colcamp1
10
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colcamp1 07/12/09 - 06:35 am
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Both parties are at fault.

Both parties are at fault. The neighbor left a pack of hungry animals unattended and want people to believe that she returned each day to feed them.

arrst01
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arrst01 07/12/09 - 06:58 am
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This is just heartbreaking

This is just heartbreaking and could have been avoided if ONLY the PARENTS or GUARDIAN was watching their child! At 8:40pm - at two year old child should have been asleep,not climbing a fence AT NIGHT - UNSUPERVISED!

To put the blame on others, even if the neighbors had various other animals or weapons or any other types of items that may have injured this child - is despicable. What if the neighbor had a pool, and the child - left unattended- ended up climbing this fence and drowning???? Is it the neighbors fault for not having ESP that a TODDLER is in their pool????

Sad story.. Could have been avoided.. If only the parents or guardian took away some precious time from whatever THEY were doing to attend to their OWN CHILD!!!!!

pops1
43
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pops1 07/12/09 - 07:07 am
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whether a dog is fed or not

whether a dog is fed or not if they are in their own yard, they are doing what they can to protect their own surroundings and eat whatever is available. if they were truly "starving" they would have turned on each other. I believe the dogs were only taken from their yard to see if they are rabid or sick. If so, then yes, some may be "put down". Anytime a dog bites ...it needs to be tested. with so many dogs, it is impossible to know which ones did the biting, so they all need testing, i am sure.
It is up to us, as parents to protect our young ones from danger. What if the child drank poison??? 2 yrs old is till a baby. unfortunate accident, but closer attention and better parenting skills are required

spdermn78
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spdermn78 07/12/09 - 07:10 am
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County policy states that you

County policy states that you can have up to 7 animals on your property as long as they have been vacinated and are in good health. My 2 dogs are great and nice however if a stranger strays into my yard they get defensive. There is no reason a 2 year old child should have been left alone.

spdermn78
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spdermn78 07/12/09 - 07:13 am
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how long was this 2 year old

how long was this 2 year old child left alone? He broke out of a gated porch, climbed the fence into another yard then was attacked by dogs.. call me crazy but I think this child had to have been left alone for at least 15 minutes for all this to happen. I hope they charge the mother! She needs to be held accountable for her childs injuries. I hope family and children services get involved to evalute her parenting skills.

petewillis
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petewillis 07/12/09 - 07:44 am
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col, how do you know the dogs

col, how do you know the dogs were hungry? This is the parents fault plain and simple. leave it up to col, he must think all involved are white.

NANF
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NANF 07/12/09 - 08:07 am
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Here we go again, always

Here we go again, always someone to pull out the race card. Just how stupid are you?? Pray for the childs health and let the law take care of the rest. Color makes a difference? YOU are mind boggling.

Hearts for Animals
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Hearts for Animals 07/12/09 - 08:46 am
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I am the owner of the 4 dogs

I am the owner of the 4 dogs that attacked the little boy once it got into my back yard. The fence is 4 feet high and at the top is jagged medal not covered by the long rod that normally is right over it. We all can't understand how he did it...the dogs were not tall enough to pull him over without causing him to get stuck. There was no blood anywhere,even the grandmother said he was not bleeding. I am sick over this. No one knows how hard I have struggled over the last few years to care for these abandoned dogs..they were so sick and it took great sacrifice to get them through it and now they are very healthy..I have vet records to proove all of this. If anyone cares to know the truth,then please by all means contact me. You can find me hearts for animals on myspace or saveladybugandbear on myspace.
Shirley Barnes

getalife
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getalife 07/12/09 - 08:56 am
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No winner in this story. Why

No winner in this story. Why leave a 2 year old child unattended? By the way, it was a boy, not a girl as stated in early comment. Why would someone leave dogs unattended at an unoccupied house? Dangerous dogs should not be allowed anywhere.

Hearts for Animals
0
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Hearts for Animals 07/12/09 - 09:00 am
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An explanation by the owner

An explanation by the owner of the dogs as to why I had to leave them at the house. They were in a safe place. THe yard and the house were secure and it kept me from being overcrowded where I was going temporarily while I recovered from medical issues..I steadily have been trying to find homes for them. I have been turned away by everyone because everyone is full..adoptions are at a minimal. Most of the people I know are only adopting out purebred rescued dogs from shelters. So the mutts get left behind..there is no one to care for them but people like me. People with a heart big enough to carry that load...the dogs do bring me great joy to help them and once my house sells I will be able to give them a lot more..but they are not doing without now. Instead of condemning me,step forward and offer a helping hand..that is what I need right now...and so do the dogs.
Shirley Barnes

CricketSeranade
593
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CricketSeranade 07/12/09 - 09:23 am
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Shirley, I commend your

Shirley, I commend your efforts. I too spent a lot of time and money rescuing dogs from the local pound. Now I have children, so it's no longer economically feasible for me to continue, so I'm glad to hear that others continue the fight for these souls. I don't blame you in the least for this 'accident'. If anyone is to blame, it's the Mother. You did the right thing. Those who blame you are narrow minded, hard hearted, individuals. Yes, I feel for the child, he is definitely a victim, but of the Mothers neglect, not of you or the dogs.

Rolling Eyes
247
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Rolling Eyes 07/12/09 - 10:12 am
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What a chilling story. I

What a chilling story. I hope the little boy will be alright.

bone
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bone 07/12/09 - 10:15 am
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sorry, shirley, i can't offer

sorry, shirley, i can't offer any sympathy to you: whatever motives you had for taking in strays, you shouldn't have left so many abandoned dogs in that backyard. i'm sure you console yourself with the fact that you followed the letter of the law by only having 4 dogs in the backyard (not counting the two in front - are you kidding? a dog pen in the front yard? Lord, what a horrible neighbor you are!). dog care zealots such as yourself should understand that keeping multiple dogs in residential neighborhoods without adequately providing round-the-clock supervision and care for the animals should be held responsible for any attacks that occur. if you really care about these or other animals, find yourself a quiet plot of land away from other human residents rather than insinuate yourself into an area where children - who are HUMAN and not dangerous - wander freely. certainly this two year old child's mother should have done a better job of supervising Damien (Omen reference? nah - i'll leave that alone).

getalife
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getalife 07/12/09 - 10:20 am
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Good post Bone. Leaving dogs

Good post Bone. Leaving dogs unattended is just as bad as leaving a 2 year old unattended. Dangerous dogs should not be allowed unless they are attended and should have a requirement on height and type of fence. You are as guilty as the mother that was not watching her child. I'm glad I don't live next to your dog compound.

shelly11662
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shelly11662 07/12/09 - 10:24 am
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I pray for the little boy and

I pray for the little boy and his recovery. God willing he will come out of this with only the physical scars.

wise
1
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wise 07/12/09 - 10:41 am
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Why was a two year old left

Why was a two year old left unattended and they didnt heard the dogs? The parents should be charged.

trucksareforgirlz
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trucksareforgirlz 07/12/09 - 10:46 am
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I, too, have been rescuing

I, too, have been rescuing dogs and cats for many years. I keep my pets in kennels on my property or in my home. When I go to work, they are unattended. When I come home, I check on them, feed them, play with them, etc. Again, they are on MY property. I had a problem a while back with a neighbor's 2-year-old child wandering off their property and on to mine. The 2-year-old learned how to open doors and be gone in a matter of seconds. Parents are responsible for watching their children. The article suggests there was more than one adult at the house from where this child wandered. A 4-foot high chain-link fence is not easy to climb nor is deck railing, yet children can pretty much climb anything. Parents/guardians should watch them AT ALL TIMES. Punishing the dogs for being dogs is stupid and cruel. Whether Ms. Barnes was home or not does not matter. She or any other home owner could have easily been at work at the time of the incident. There used to be a "thing" called respecting others' property; it no longer exists today. Bottom line: pray the child will recover and be healthy; don't punish the K9s for being K9s.

redapples
669
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redapples 07/12/09 - 11:59 am
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Justus4, I just am not able

Justus4, I just am not able to wrap my mind around your thinking. Why should the dog owner be punished for the child's injuries (although very tragic)? If the dog owner has broken some ordinance for number of animals, ok there is a consequence for that, but that did not cause the child's injuries. The injuries were caused by the child entering a fenced yard that was not his own. My heart goes out to the child and family, but why do you always look to government to solve all of society's problems?

Hearts for Animals
0
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Hearts for Animals 07/12/09 - 12:31 pm
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All of this is bringing to

All of this is bringing to mind how animals will attack a member of its own if it get hurt or comes into its territory....a natural act...but we are humans...can't you see that you condemnation,your wishing harm on me or the dogs,your thirst for blood is very predator like...nothing like the kind of people that God wants us to be...loving,kind and compassionate towards all...it seems the ones that hold themselves in the highest esteem are the ones who shout the loudest and come down the hardest. It's people like me...who want to help,who are willing to make the sacrifices that are not appreciated by anyone accept another person like themselves...because we understand the hardships of doing what our hearts are leading us to do...and that is have compassion towards all creatures of God..you won't find better people than those who care for animals. My question....what do you want to happen to those 4 dogs...they are not of the vicious type and aren't vicious...but they are dogs....and capable of defending their territory...just as their dogs..the neighbors that is....defended his territory when he bit me a few years ago while I was over there...should I have called animal control..NO.

getalife
4
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getalife 07/12/09 - 01:09 pm
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The little boy had over 100

The little boy had over 100 bites and these dogs are not vicious? What do you call vicious?? People should not have dogs that are dangerous to others in the neighborhood. There is no defense of this issue, dog lover or not. What if your grandchildren or children wandered into the yard, what would your dogs do?? Both parties in this story are guilty.

KSL
134288
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KSL 07/12/09 - 01:22 pm
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Where did you get the number

Where did you get the number of bites from, get?

getalife
4
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getalife 07/12/09 - 01:28 pm
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WRDW had a story on this last

WRDW had a story on this last night on the news and they reported the child had over 100 dog bites.

bone
23
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bone 07/12/09 - 01:30 pm
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shirley, you should seek

shirley, you should seek counseling: your misaligned sympathies for your dogs has clouded your judgment. kindness and compassion are certainly traits that human society needs to function, but when you introduce elements such as attention-starved (perhaps also underfed) animals in a backyard (and front yard?) of a residential area i think you're stretching the concepts a wee bit when these animals viciously attack someone. as far as you not calling animal control when you were attacked, that was a CHOICE you made; a 2 year old child (obviously in desperate need of more responsible parenting) being attacked by your dogs should be properly dealt with by authorities. i also happen to agree that questions regarding supervision of the child should be asked, but fault lies entirely with the absentee owner of the dogs.

KSL
134288
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KSL 07/12/09 - 01:40 pm
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bone, the same thing could

bone, the same thing could have happened if she lived there.

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