Potomac News Online | Owner still pleading for pit bulls’ lives

The owner of two 11-month-old pit bulls who mauled a 7-year-old boy said the dogs should live because their victim didn’t die, suffer a heart attack or stroke, and isn’t brain dead.

“It’s just some bites,” said Jason Whittington, 23, who was found guilty Wednesday of keeping a vicious dog and allowing a dog to run free.

Whittington’s black and blond-striped dogs – named Half-Dead and Tension – attacked Bryan Ward in the early evening Sept. 26 as he rode a scooter on a sidewalk near his grandmother’s town house on Quail Run Lane near Manassas. The dogs escaped after chewing a hole in the backyard fence of a nearby town house.

Judge Wenda K. Travers told Whittington it gave her no pleasure to rule that his dogs are vicious, and to order them euthanized.

Upon her announcement, Whittington leaned back in his chair, put his hands on his face and said, “Come on man, can’t you see she’s lying?”

He was apparently referring to his neighbor, 40-year-old Wendy Boutselis, who saved Bryan from the dogs’ onslaught.

Boutselis and her small dog had a run-in with Whittington earlier this year; she said the pit bulls – then 3-months-old and off leash – attacked her small dog. Whittington claims her dog ran at them aggressively.

“Me and the neighbors don’t exactly get along because of my dogs,” Whittington said.

Bryan was bitten several times and required stitches. While on the ground covering his head, the dogs pulled skin from under his arm. They bit his head and buttocks, and scratched him. He has several scars and may have to undergo plastic surgery.

Authorities say Whittington lives in a 7571 Quail Run Lane town house off Sudley Road; he claims to live in Haymarket. He said he spends between 75 and 80 percent of his time in the town house, where his girlfriend and friend live.

Gordon Tibbs, of Quail Run Lane, was called by Whittington to the stand Wednesday and identified himself as the roommate of the accused.

Whittington had to act as his own lawyer because he didn’t hire one; Travers said he had plenty of time to do so and denied his request to continue the case.

Subpoenas for witnesses to appear at Tuesday’s proceedings were issued weeks ago.

Because he was charged with class-four misdemeanors, Whittington was not eligible for representation by a public defender.

“I came completely unprepared,” he said.

During his closing statement and time on the stand, Whittington pleaded for his dogs’ lives, telling the judge he is a dog enthusiast and aspiring pit bull breeder.

“That’s my kid,” he said of the two dogs, before looking at Bryan’s family and adding, “At least your kid is alive.”

After the trial, Whittington said he would “fight this all the way.” The only dogs that deserve to be euthanized are ones who were bred to be vicious, he said.

“If the dogs wanted to kill that dude, they would have,” he said of Bryan. “They’re not vicious.”

Boutselis got the pit bulls to run from Bryan by beating them with the scooter he was riding when they tackled him.

Whittington said Boutselis made the attack worse by hitting the dogs; he claimed anyone who knows about pit bulls would have hit them in the jaw first.

“She could have made it more serious by not hitting the dogs’ jaw,” he said.

Tibbs said the attack was Boutselis’ fault because when she noticed a problem with the fence a week before the attack, she failed to notify him.

“They could have prevented it,” he said.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jerry Negin said the community should thank Boutselis for her intervention.

At one point, Whittington objected to Travers looking at photos of Bryan’s injuries because he said it “might look bad.”

Whittington must pay fines, including a $147 boarding fee for each dog after they are euthanized. He appealed the Travers’ decisions; an appeal will be heard by a Circuit Court judge on Dec. 18.

Whittington pledged to present a new witness and bring a lawyer. He said a neighbor, who he would have called to the stand had he known the nature of Wednesday’s hearing, saw kids provoking his dogs that afternoon. Whittington said the neighbor feels that Bryan may have been one of them.

Bryan’s mother said that claim is absurd; Bryan was in school on the other side of the county that afternoon.

Whittington later apologized to Bryan for his injuries.

“To you, I’m sorry the dogs bit you,” Whittington said.

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