Boy still critical after dog mauling

A 2-year-old Augusta boy who was attacked by dogs Friday night remained in critical condition Sunday, according to a spokeswoman at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Damien Chavous was bitten by four dogs after he climbed over a 4-foot-tall wire fence that separates a neighbor's backyard from his great-grandparents' backyard in the 3600 block of Belair Road.

Maggie Swint, Damien's great-grandmother, said the boy was bitten more than 100 times and required at least 200 stitches.

The four dogs that bit the boy and another dog that was in a separate fenced-in area of the front yard were taken by animal control officers.

The owner of the house and the dogs, Shirley Barnes, said she runs a registered animal rescue charity called Hearts for Animals that is based in Belvedere.

"I don't go around searching for animals to rescue," Ms. Barnes said. "I just take in abandoned animals that nobody else wants to take care of and animals that people drop off in my front yard."

Ms. Barnes said she does not live at the house on Belair Road but that she does visit it at least once a day to check on the animals.

"I'm over at that house sometimes more than once every day, taking care of them and feeding them," she said.

Diane Downs, the director of Augusta Animal Services, said the dogs were up to date on their shots and they all appear to have been well fed.

The investigation is continuing, and animal control is waiting for its completion before it decides what will happen to the dogs, Ms. Downs said.

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