Jaye Ward was inside her Quail Run Lane town house Friday, when her 7-year-old grandson Bryan burst through the door, bleeding all over.
He told her that “the dogs chewed him.” Two blond and black-striped pit bulls — named Half-Dead and Tension — took large chunks of skin and fat from underneath Bryan’s arm. Relatives and a neighbor said there are three “huge” jagged wounds on the boy’s head. There are several bites on his arms, legs and chest, in addition to tears out of his buttocks.
“It was just horrible,” Ward said. Bryan’s grandfather James Ward said his grandson was “mauled up.”
The boy was riding his scooter outside his grandmother’s home when the two pit bulls escaped through a hole in the fence behind 7571 Quail Run Lane off Sudley Manor Drive. The dogs ran off when 40-year-old neighbor Wendy Boutselis beat them with the boy’s scooter.
Owner Jason Whittington, 23, of that address, was charged with no county dog license.
Several knocks at Whittington’s door went unanswered Monday. A person who was home and looking out the window did not answer.
Bryan was attacked on a sidewalk behind a row of town houses. The sidewalk is at the end of a field with a playground at the top. Each town house has a back yard fenced in with wooden planks. Every other one is a few inches behind the preceding board, creating a see-through effect. The design leaves enough room for a dog to fit his mouth over a board.
Boutselis, who lives a door down from Ward, had finished mowing her lawn when she heard barking and saw one of the dogs, already outside the fence, barking at a teenager. Bryan grabbed his scooter and left Ward’s yard as Boutselis walked away from hers. She wanted to see what the dog was doing.
“As he got on his scooter, I glanced to the fencing. I saw the second pit bull’s head out of the fence, barking,” Boutselis said.
Seconds later, oblivious to the presence of the dogs, Bryan got on the scooter and pushed off once. Boutselis saw the second pit bull jump through the small hole. Then the pair ran at the boy.
“Bryan was the only moving object they saw,” she said. “They instantly went after Bryan.”
They tackled him and started biting. Bryan’s stepfather Matthew Hanna said his stepson didn’t know what had happened. To him, the dogs seemed to have come from nowhere. He screamed, feeling teeth coming down on his head, arms and legs. He used his arms to cover his head, so the skin near his armpit, exposed to several bites, was torn badly.
Boutselis dropped her mower bag and ran toward the melee, fruitlessly yelling “No!” She hit the dogs, but Half-Dead and Tension didn’t budge.
“They just kept biting and biting and biting and pulling and biting,” Boutselis said. “I looked down, I saw his scooter, so I picked up his scooter, I swung it and I hit the dogs. They let go and I yelled for Bryan to run.”
The dogs chased Bryan momentarily before retreating into their yard, which is little more than a dirt lot.
“I believe they would attack again in a minute,” Boutselis said. “I will do whatever it takes to get these dogs put down.”
And that may happen. Both animals are being quarantined at the Prince William County Animal Shelter. After the 10-day quarantine period is over, the county will move to euthanize the 11-month-old dogs, if Whittington doesn’t authorized their destruction first.
If he doesn’t, a General District Court judge will have to decide if the attack warrants death. Each dog is between 40 and 50 pounds.
Ward said her grandson never cried throughout the entire incident. His wounds have to be redressed each day. Every other day he goes to the doctor to clean the wound. He has an appointment with a plastic surgeon this week.
“The potential of this to have been much worse is certainly there,” said Master Detective Samson Newsome, the Prince William County Police Department’s Animal Control Bureau administrator.
Newsome said attacks by aggressive breeds have become more prevalent in Prince William County. In July, 31-year-old Amy Pokorak was attacked by two pit bulls while walking her two small terriers. When she tried to pull one of the attacking dogs from her small Jack Russell terrier Chloe, it bit through her finger “like it was butter,” she said in July.
About a week later, two pit bulls chased a cat into a tree and chewed off the end of the catch pole animal control officers were trying to catch them with.
“It was a pretty vicious attack,” Newsome said. The attack jeopardized the officers’ abilities to catch the dogs because the part of the device used to secure the animals’ necks was chewed away. A responding patrol officer shot and killed one of them. The other was captured a short time later.
Sitting in their pens at the Prince William County Animal Shelter quarantine room Monday, Half-Dead and Tension were docile. Tension was shaking; which Chief Deputy Animal Warden Pauline Shatswell said indicated the fear of being exposed to a new, stressful environment.