A 9-year-old girl was hospitalized after a pit bull bolted outside a home and attacked her at a playground Friday afternoon.
The girl was taken to a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries to her scalp, the Anchorage Police Department said in a statement.
According to APD, a 13-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl were home alone with their pit bull when the girl slammed the front door, “which startled the dog and caused it to bolt outside,” the statement says.
The dog ran about 30 yards before reaching a playground where it latched onto the top of a girl’s head.
Hearing the young girl’s cries, adults came to help.
“I hear screaming. I thought it was kids playing outside until I realized it was screams of pain coming from a little kid,” said Raymond Patterson, who lives nearby.
A man with a crowbar whacked the dog several times, but the dog would not let go, APD said. When the 13-year-old boy got to the playground, he grabbed onto the dog but also was unable to get the dog to release its jaws from the girl’s head for several minutes.
Patterson and and another neighbor, Jeremy Tui, both claimed to be attacked by the dog after it let go of the girl, who fled to her home with the 13-year-old owner of the dog. They both sustained minor injuries to their hands and legs. Another citizen pepper-sprayed the dog.
“It was at this time that one of the responding adults fired his handgun one time, hitting the dog in the head,” the APD statement says. “The dog let go and was secured inside of its home.”
The adult owner of the pit bull quickly arrived to the playground after being called by authorities. The Anchorage Animal Care and Control Center has custody of the dog. It will be medically treated and AACCC will determine the dog’s fate after they complete an investigation.
No charges have been filed, the APD statement says, adding that “unless new information is brought to light, none are expected.”
Patterson says it’s a good family that owns the dog. He noted, however, that the dog is aggressive and does “bark at everybody when they’re going by.”
Although he has years of experience in the public safety field, Friday’s attack was one of the most terrifying things Patterson says he has experienced.
“That’s about the most scared I’ve been,” he said, noting the girl is the same age as his son. “Even when I was a firefighter, going into buildings that were on fire.”
Patterson said while he did sustain a few bites, most of the blood on him was from the girl.