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from The Washington Post

    Southeast Boy in Critical Condition After Pit Bull Attack

Monday, June 18, 2001

Pit bulls ripped an ear from a boy's head yesterday during a savage mauling on Capitol Hill, authorities said.

The youth, whose name was not disclosed, was listed in critical condition last night at Children's Hospital. Police and fire department officials said surgeons were trying to reattach the ear.

The dog attack occurred about 2:30 p.m., behind a tattoo parlor in the 700 block of Eighth Street SE. The boy, whose age was not clear -- various authorities gave it as 10, 13 and 14 -- was described as a friend of the parlor's operator.

(continued below)

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The parlor operator turned over four dogs to the District's animal control unit, and the animals were euthanized. Their brains were to be tested for rabies.

Denise Reed, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, said the boy's wounds included lacerations to his legs and scalp and puncture wounds on his neck.

After the youth was flown by U.S. Park Police helicopter to the hospital, according to D.C. police Lt. John Hedgecock, an officer saw one of the dogs with what appeared to be a human ear. Police retrieved it, packed it in ice and sent it to the hospital, Hedgecock said.

The boy, who was believed to live in the neighborhood of the parlor, which is across the street from the Marine barracks, may have been helping the owner clean up, Hedgecock said. They may have been feeding the dogs, according to the accounts, when the parlor operator left the enclosure and the dogs pounced.

When the man returned, he freed the boy from the animals and called for help, said fire and EMS spokesman Alan Etter.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company

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