A young boy is recovering after he was bitten by a neighbor's dog while on his way to the bus stop. The boy stepped into a neighbor's yard to pet their dog, when part of his bottom lip was bitten off.
But the dog's owner said the pit bull was just protecting his property.
Instead of sitting in his seventh grade classroom at Christiana Middle School, Da'Marquion Gaines was home in bed Monday, recovering from being bitten by the pit bull.
"No parent wants to see their child go through anything like this," the boy's mother, Kennetha Batten, said.
Last Friday, Da'Marquion and a friend were walking down Lynch Street in Murfreesboro on their way to the bus stop when Da'Marquion approached the dog and petted it on its head. When he turned to walk away, the pit went after him.
"My son was fighting the dog while it was on top of him, and his friend picked up a stick and was hitting the dog," Batten said. "I thank God that boy was there with my son, because if he wasn't there it could have been different (outcome)."
Da'Marquion was to celebrate his 12th birthday with a party on Saturday, but the youngster spent the day at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital with bite wounds to his arm and lips. He's in constant pain, and can only eat soup and drink liquids.
"Half of my son's bottom lip was missing," the mother said. "That's just not a feeling I ever wanted to feel. I felt helpless that my son was in so much pain and there was nothing I could do."
The dog's owner, John Singleton, said he normally keeps him in a fenced in backyard with a lock on the gate. He said last Friday the house was being sprayed for bugs, so he tied his dog to a tree in the front yard because the exterminator didn't feel comfortable.
Singleton said he named pit bull Chop after rescuing it. He said the dog is territorial.
"The leash doesn't reach the road," Singleton said. "He felt threatened, and jumped up and bit the little boy in the face."
Batten said she was told at first the dog would be put to sleep, but later found out it will be quarantined for 10 days and returned to its owner.
"My son is emotionally distressed, he's traumatized, and this vicious animal is just going to eat (well), and sleep good, and then he's going back home," she said.
The dog was picked up by Rutherford County PAWS, and will be kept there until Aug. 27.
Da'Marquion will be home schooled while he recovers. He's scheduled to have the first of many surgeries to repair his bottom lip as early as next week.
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