Anatomy of a dog attack

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A 2-year-old's mauling by four neighbor's dogs Friday night didn't just come out of the blue.

It now looks like an accident waiting to happen.

Damien Chavous, 2, remained hospitalized in serious condition Tuesday after barely surviving the mauling by the four dogs next door -- after the toddler may have managed to scale the chain-link fence between the yards.

This tragic head-on collision of apparent negligence happened in the middle of the road, as it were.

The absentee property owner next to the boy's house had previously quartered up to 15 dogs. Richmond County Animal Control had notified the owner -- who says she's engaged in sheltering homeless animals -- that no more than five dogs can be kept in one location.

The woman, Shirley Andrews Barnes, 60, also was facing charges this week in Aiken County resulting from complaints about dogs she kept at her home in Belvedere. Reports indicate there have been complaints dating back to the 1990s.

Authorities seized 24 dogs from her home -- some of which, they say, would be too dangerous for adoption.

As for poor young Damien -- bitten more than 100 times -- he appears to have an adventurer's soul: While most parents in the area have been scratching their heads over how a 2-year-old might have scaled a fence that most adults would rather not attempt, authorities have located a shred of the boy's diaper on top of the fence.

A relative believes the boy might have been pulled over by the dogs. Regardless, what is a 2-year-old doing with the kind of freedom necessary for him to make that getaway? The family says the boy was playing alone on the back deck while his mother prepared a bottle for a younger sibling. How long does that take? And how smart is it to leave a 2-year-old alone for any amount of time?

The toddler had also reportedly been found walking down the street alone on July 3, rescued by a passerby who reported seeing the child amid heavy traffic.

So, there are unanswered questions emanating from both properties. But the most serious questions involve the boy.

Some questions will now be answered in court: Authorities Tuesday arrested the boy's mother, Jessica Chavous, for cruelty to a child.

When a child is taken care of and safe, how you parent that child is your business.

When he's put in danger through neglect or carelessness, it's everybody's business.

Thus, this community will be watching closely to see how the Division of Family and Children Services and other authorities handle the case.

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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 07/15/09 - 06:34 am
0
0
Ms Barnes had 24 dogs removed

Ms Barnes had 24 dogs removed from her home yesterday? or since the '90s? Was Ms. Barnes breaking the law all of this time? Why was she not prosecuted, or at least reprimanded, in all of this time? According to yesterday's article, she has been now... severely. I doubt she'll attempt to rescue any more dogs. The baby will be released to it's negligent mother and all will continue in that horrible situation.

bone
23
Points
bone 07/15/09 - 06:49 am
0
0
i know i'm going to be

i know i'm going to be attacked for writing this again, but i still believe the animal rescuer is most at fault. the two year old child was certainly not well supervised and many would argue that, in light of the july 3 incident with same child, something like this was bound to happen; the "something," in this case, should NEVER have happened in a residential neighborhood. whatever license is granted to would-be animal do-gooders allowing them to house vagrant animals should also have a stipulation that prevents human populations from being endangered. that said, i hate that shirley's caring heart is going to prevent her from fully understanding why she is at fault in seeing both the tragedy of this injured child & the likely euthanization of the dogs involved.

Hearts for Animals
0
Points
Hearts for Animals 07/15/09 - 08:07 am
0
0
Another night of agonizing

Another night of agonizing emotional pain....the public as usual does not know both sides of the story...bits and pieces from records that show only a smidgeon of what happened..but not the story of before during and after. For Jessica's family...they are all a close knit family..something I envy,but at the same time....with all the adults around children should be in your presence...by at least one adult...never left alone to play by themselves....the dogs...could have been a car,or a predator running across an apportunity to snatch that child as they have done many times. You blame me for having 4 dogs in the backyard,not strays,not feral dogs,not abused,not neglected,taken care of medical needs,shelter and food..you fault me for caring for and making great sacrifice to care for what was thrown away. When you think of adopting why is it you only want a purebred dog..when there are so many mixed ones that need homes. Why does this county not make mandatory spay neutering...other cities are doing it with great success...do you know why? GREED and who ever you may think would profit from leaving the things the way they are...if that was in place we wouldn't have a problem.

Riverman1
83996
Points
Riverman1 07/15/09 - 08:31 am
0
0
The problem is that you can't

The problem is that you can't keep dangerous animals or have other things in your yard that could injure a child if that child enters your property. I am in no way condoning leaving a child alone and the obvious poor parenting, but at the same time, the owner of the dog (s) is at fault. It is the same reason you are not allowed to keep a lion or other "attractive nuisances." Let's take the fact the child is two years old out of the equation for a second. What if a 10 year old had climbed over the fence to get a ball? Same result more than likely. The owner's dog (s) are obviously aggressive. She even had two places where she kept dogs. I agree in charging the mother for criminal neglect, but the owner of the dog (s) is liable for the injuries under tort law.

getalife
4
Points
getalife 07/15/09 - 08:42 am
0
0
I agree with Bone. While I

I agree with Bone. While I commend Ms. Barnes for her efforts, this should not be allowed in a residential neighborhood. All counties should have requirements and restrictions to operate an animal rescue center and certainly not in a close neighborhood in an unoccupied house!!

belle
307
Points
belle 07/15/09 - 08:50 am
0
0
I have three large dogs. ALL
Unpublished

I have three large dogs. ALL were rescues. NONE would EVER bite a child or an adult. BOTH parties are at fault.

Jake
32546
Points
Jake 07/15/09 - 09:07 am
0
0
I was kept awake part of last

I was kept awake part of last night by some stupid barking dog. I don't think I can offer any good comments this morning about dogs and their owners.

BethsArk
0
Points
BethsArk 07/15/09 - 09:46 am
0
0
I like what belle said! I

I like what belle said! I also have lots of animals diffrent kinds adopted from shelter's. I however made sure that none would harm children! I have 3 of my own and there is no way i would take a chance at that....I wonder what breed they were? If there was pit there ya go 99% of them :thrown away" is due to aggression call your local shelter and ask its faction! Dont know about the mom thing seems to me if the child is 2 and has a younger sibling there might be some depression there and someone in the family should have stepped in!

ONLY THE TRUTH
2
Points
ONLY THE TRUTH 07/15/09 - 10:13 am
0
0
Shoot the unwanted dogs.

Shoot the unwanted dogs. Dead dogs dont breed.

wsm141
115
Points
wsm141 07/15/09 - 11:23 am
0
0
I havent posted for quite a

I havent posted for quite a while this story and the various opinions have urged me to do so. Many of you throw the blame both ways then others one way or the other. Stop and consider this! These animals were in a fenced yard I understand. Not in the victims yard. Pretty simple. What if instead of dogs it was a pool? Are you folks gona bash the homeowner who may or may not be there at the time when the child made his escape! Are you folks going to demand all pools be removed from neighborhoods?????!!!!!!! Hey lets out law lawnmowers, weedeaters, chainsaws, hedge trimmers etc. The child could have been hurt just as easily with these items. How bout a backyard shed with shelves. IT WAS A TRAGIC ACCIDENT THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO ANYONE OF YOU!!!!! ONLY DIFFERENCE IS IT HAPPENED TO THEM AND ALL YOU SIDELINE QB'S ARE THERE TELL'EM HOW WRONG THEY ARE!! GET A FREAKIN LIFE!!!!!!

bone
23
Points
bone 07/15/09 - 11:46 am
0
0
glad you stepped onto the

glad you stepped onto the field and refused to stay on the sidelines, wsm141. instead of demanding that all feral pools be removed and all do-gooder pool caretakers have their licenses revoked, i think i'd rather require public schools to teach all children to swim before the kids learn to walk. otherwise, i think you and i are on the same page LOL. i haven't been chased by a stray chainsaw lately, but my hedgetrimmers did fall off the wallhook a few days ago - pretty threatening, huh?

Lumbarsupport
0
Points
Lumbarsupport 07/15/09 - 11:50 am
0
0
WSM141, you are an apologist

WSM141, you are an apologist for those who CHOOSE to have those violent rap type dogs that are bred for the purpose of attacking and killing things smaller than they are. In fact she was so fearful of those dogs that she held them in a location seperate from where she lived. She was AWARE that these dogs were so bloodthirsty that she was scared to be in the same location as they were.

someonewhoknows1
0
Points
someonewhoknows1 07/15/09 - 12:32 pm
0
0
Way to many animals at both

Way to many animals at both houses something had to be done for the health of the animals.

wsm141
115
Points
wsm141 07/15/09 - 01:33 pm
0
0
I havent seen or heard

I havent seen or heard anything to indicate what the dogs were in the yard. Have you? Can you tell me exactly what these dogs were. Breed or pedigree? Either way it makes no difference. They were contained in a private yard period end of story.

justthefacts
21875
Points
justthefacts 07/15/09 - 01:53 pm
0
0
FallsChurch, do you miss

FallsChurch, do you miss NOVA?

MtnMan
1
Points
MtnMan 07/15/09 - 01:55 pm
0
0
....We could start by out

....We could start by out lawing Pit Bulls in the State of Georgia...as some States have done. Miami-Dade County in Florida does not allow Pit Bulls in that County AT ALL!! And hey...I am a MAJOR Dog Lover...

Riverman1
83996
Points
Riverman1 07/15/09 - 02:13 pm
0
0
WSM, I understand your

WSM, I understand your confusion. Let me help. A backyard shed with shelves would not be considered an attractive nuisance, but a dog in a neighborhood yard could be considered such. You can't keep dangerous conditions where children are likely to trespass. That's the law. You can't keep a booby trap on your property either. If the owner has reason to know the dog is vicious enough to pose harm to children, she is at fault.

wsm141
115
Points
wsm141 07/15/09 - 03:03 pm
0
0
RiverMan1.....Apparently

RiverMan1.....Apparently you're confused but it's quite alright. You should be used to it. Let me help. Forget the 2 year child for a minute. Let's say the victim was an adult who decided to jump the fence. What do you suppose the outcome would be? It's the same. The animals were in a closed area.

Riverman1
83996
Points
Riverman1 07/15/09 - 04:20 pm
0
0
WSM, the attractive nuisance

WSM, the attractive nuisance doctrine typically doesn't apply to adults. However, if a child is in danger due to an attractive nuisance and an adult attempts to rescue the child, the attractive nuisance doctrine may hold the landowner responsible for the rescuer's injuries in addition to the child's injuries.

robaroo
750
Points
robaroo 07/15/09 - 08:07 pm
0
0
Sorry, but this is a pretty

Sorry, but this is a pretty simple case. The dogs were in their own fenced-in yard. The child was not supervised adequately. The dogs may not have had all their shots and there were too many of them in the yard, but the root cause of the problem was the child getting over the fence.

HillGuy
7
Points
HillGuy 07/15/09 - 09:19 pm
0
0
There were only four dogs in

There were only four dogs in the yard where this incident occured. The dogs were in a fenced in area. They were not running loose terrorizing the neighborhood. None of the dogs appear to be pit bulls or vicous breeds. Do you want the county to outlaw having more than 2 dogs in a fenced in yard? Boy a lot of richmond county residents would have to get rid of their pets. There were not 20 dogs at this richmond county home.. only 4. The belvedere property is a different situation. But that has nothing to do with this. The child was left OUTSIDE on a deck unsupervised for a long enough amount of time to scale the fence and get into the neioghbor's yard. You do not leave a 2 year old OUTSIDE unattended, period. If you have to tend to the other children, then bring the 2 year old indoors where you are. The mother knew the child was able to get out from the deck. Less than a week prior, the child was left outside unattended and was nearly hit and killed in the street. There is no excuse for this kind of negligent parenting. If you cannot handle raising your kids in a responsible way, then let someone else do it for you.

DEADEYEDICK
0
Points
DEADEYEDICK 07/15/09 - 10:03 pm
0
0
THIS WOMAN BELONGS IN JAIL

THIS WOMAN BELONGS IN JAIL SHE HAS A LONG 15 YEAR HISTORY WITH HER PACK OF WILD DOGS AND CATS.

note Shirley Andrews AKA Shirley Barnes her dogs have attacked before.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/052399/met_207-5836.000.shtml

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/060499/met_207-5905.000.shtml

I THINK HER DOGS DRAGGED THAT CHILD UNDER THE FENCE

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 07/15/09 - 10:06 pm
0
0
Odd, I haven't read anything

Odd, I haven't read anything about the child nearly being hit and killed in the street. Not that the child should have been out in the yard alone, but I'm reading different reports about the incident the week before. One TV station just said the child was just NEAR the street, the main concern he was out in the yard by himself. Just saying, we don't have a clear-cut idea of what happened except the unsupervised child was injured by unsupervised, untethered dogs and somehow ended up in the backyard of the vacant house. We don't know if he climbed the fences and entered the yard himself, or if he was dragged over.

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 07/15/09 - 10:10 pm
0
0
I'm glad I don't live next

I'm glad I don't live next door to the dog lady.

beva65
0
Points
beva65 07/15/09 - 10:47 pm
0
0
somebody needs to educate

somebody needs to educate young parents on how to supervise their children...too many are being put in danger by lazy parenting. there's no telling what is going on that we're not hearing about...

HillGuy
7
Points
HillGuy 07/15/09 - 11:58 pm
0
0
Baroness.. the article that

Baroness.. the article that appeared in yesterday's Chronicle said that this was not the first time the child was left outside unattended. less than a week ago, a motorist found the child playing in the street with no adult around. The motorist took the kid back to the house to find his parents.

KSL
129555
Points
KSL 07/16/09 - 01:29 am
0
0
I looked at the pictures of

I looked at the pictures of the dog. Not one of the dogs looked like a vicious dog.If I didn't have cats, I might consider adopting any one of those dogs. While Ms Barnes may have been in violation of laws in Aiken County, she was not in violation at her Belair Rd. home. I am so very sorry a child who was on several occasions not properly supervised was a victim. But this was not the fault of the dog owner. I hope good people will step up and investigate the possibility of adopting these dogs.

KSL
129555
Points
KSL 07/16/09 - 01:34 am
0
0
Baroness, no responsible

Baroness, no responsible parent lets a child of 2 be in a situation that it can climb a fence even close enough to where a dog could pull it over to the other side (and that's not what happened) or wander around to the vicinity of a street.

mpowel21
0
Points
mpowel21 07/16/09 - 07:20 am
0
0
It's amazing how people are

It's amazing how people are allowed to continue popping out babies that they don't take care of, yet loving, responsible, financially comfortable same-sex couples have such a hard time adopting children, who otherwise, would have to live in environments like this. What kind of parent would leave their 2 yo child alone in a back yard, with dogs next door? The kind of a parent who should not be allowed the priveledge of raising children.

REP
0
Points
REP 07/16/09 - 07:33 am
0
0
Deadeye the dogs dragged the

Deadeye the dogs dragged the kid under the fence? Or maybe the dogs jumped the fence grabbed the kid and jumped back over with him. Neither really possible besides the article even says they found some diaper shreds on the top of the fence. wsm141 is right if it was a pool and the kid climbed the fence and drowned would the dog owner be arrested for having a pool in the backyard with a fence around it? Not too many 2 year olds can swim riverman. I'm far from defending the dog lady's past actions apparently she has been and is a problem but if a kid jumped in my backyard I have two dogs and if the kid jumped on them and didn't leave them alone who knows what they would do with a two year old pulling hair and tails, etc. The point is who knows what the dogs would do if they perceive the kid's playing as aggressive. My daughter is 16 mos old and I don't even take her in the pen with my dogs and they have never been aggressive in the 7 and 10 years I've had them.

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