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Akron to Make Changes After Dog Attack

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AKRON, Ohio -- The City of Akron plans to make changes to the way animal wardens respond to emergency calls after an incident in which a 6-year-old boy was severely bitten by a dog described as a gray and white pit bull.

The attack happened near the intersection of Dietz and Stanton Avenues late Wednesday.

Akron Police Lieutenant Rick Edwards said the girlfriend of the dog's owner and her son were trying to get the animal inside their house when it got away from them and ran out in the street where kids were playing.

"There were three kids on my car, because it was parked in my driveway, hopping up and down and screaming, trying to get away from it," Kelly Baldino told Fox 8 News.

People who called 911 described a chaotic scene.

"A kid just got mauled by a pit bull, the people can't control their dog," said one caller.

"I need an ambulance, the police and the dog warden.  We have a dog bite out here and he's tearing up," said Paula Conkle in another call to police.

Conkle said she watched as the 6-year-old ran for help and eventually got picked up and driven to Akron City Hospital.

"He basically jumped at the little boy, the little boy took off on Dietz Avenue.  He got picked up and I couldn't watch it anymore," said Conkle.

"He got bit on the forehead, the elbow, the thigh, which is probably the most serious, and on the ankle," said Lt. Edwards.

Neighbors said police showed up as the owner's girlfriend and her son were lying on top of the dog trying to get it to settle down. Both were also bitten.

"They had guns out on the dog. I seen lights, laser lights. I seen them on the dog and then I seen somebody come with a collar and they walked away with it," said Dean Baldino.

The dog's owner, identified by police as Andre Brown, 41, of Dietz Avenue, was cited for failure to control his animal.

The police report said "the warden refused to come out."

On Friday, John Valle of Akron's Dept. of Neighborhoods told Fox 8 News that the warden was well within the legal protocol by not responding to the scene.

"Our animal control officer, he handled proper protocol," said Valle. "When he got that phone call, the animal was already in control and in custody inside the home of the owner. If our warden would have responded, he would have gone home empty-handed. Once that animal is back inside private property he would need a search and seizure warrant (to get it)," said Valle.

Valle said the warden did go to Brown's house on Thursday and issued additional citations for the dog not being properly licensed, not being properly registered with the city since 2010, and for not being muzzled or in a proper kennel.

He said Brown has been ordered to quarantine the dog inside his house for ten days.

Valle said he met on Friday morning with animal control managers and officers and talked about changes that are going to be effective immediately in the way they respond to similar calls.

He would not discuss the changes with Fox 8 News until after he has had a chance to talk them over with police zone commanders.

A woman at Brown's house on Friday shut the door when asked by Fox 8 to comment about the incident.

Brown is expected in municipal court on Tuesday where, according to Valle, a magistrate could ask him to destroy the dog.

If not, the case could end up going to trial where, according to Valle, a judge could order him to either destroy the dog or remove it from the City of Akron.

The condition of the 6-year-old boy who was bitten was not known on Friday.

There was no response at his home.