TOPEKA (KSNT) – A 28-year-old Topeka man is facing 10 charges in Thursday’s pit bull attack in a Topeka city park.
The charges include owning dangerous dogs and failing to register them.
The dogs bit three people in the park; one of them an 11-year-old boy, Caleb Davis.
Davis, his sister and several of his cousins were all in that park that afternoon.
Caleb was the only one bitten by the dogs, but the others were just as scarred emotionally.
“I tried to run away, but the dogs were faster than me,” recalls Caleb.
He was tripped up by one of the two dogs and then fell. That’s when he was bitten once on his left leg and once on his head right behind his ear.
“I was really scared because he was screaming like he was dying and, if my sister wouldn’t have made a distraction, they could have chewed his ear off,” said his sister Jasmine Davis.
As much as Caleb’s cousins wanted to step in and help, there wasn’t much they could do.
“We were all screaming scared, and one adult came to help us and got attacked, another one came and got attacked,” said Caleb’s cousin Echo Davis.
Echo and her younger sister perched on the top of a piece of playground equipment.
“I didn’t want to lose her either,” said Echo.
“I would have got bit by the dogs if it wasn’t for my sister, because I almost fell off and it was kind of scary,” said Imogene Davis.
It was scary enough that their mother says neither girl could sleep last night, reliving the experience.
“I got really scared when they attacked my cousin, so I didn’t know what to do,” said Imogene. “I wanted to help him, but I thought I was going to die, and I didn’t want to get bit too, and I was pretty scared.”
Neighbors say this isn’t the first time the dogs had escaped. Two weeks ago Caleb’s mother tried to help round them up. “In doing so, one of them bit her in the calf. It was one of the same two dogs that were out,” said Caleb’s Aunt Rochelle Davis.
Thursday afternoon, firefighters, animal control and one police officer responded to that attack, but witnesses say it took at least 30 minutes to get the dogs under control and that was only after the police officer shot one of the dogs in the front leg.
Now many people are questioning why it ever had to get to that point. Were there no other options for animal control to subdue those dogs?
“If it’s determined that the animal poses a risk to the safety of the community, then they do have the option of deploying a chemical immobilization gun, a tranquilizer gun,” said Lt. Jeff Klumpp of the Topeka Police Department, but Klumpp explains there’s a sequence of decisions to be made prior to that.
“Where are the dogs? How big are the dogs? Can we capture the dogs using the standard tools? If we’re unable to do that, then we may need to move to the chemical mobilization tool from here, and it just depends entirely on the context of the situation at the time,” said Lt. Klumpp.
And in this case, there simply wasn’t the time for all that.
Chief James Brown said Thursday the shooting was within policy and most witnesses feel police and animal control handled this situation well.
“He didn’t want to kill them,” said witness Mike Lodes. “He was obviously doing as best he could to keep them at bay and to keep them away from the kids, but he did what he had to do.”
And now Caleb’s family is grateful for that.
According to Police, because those dogs bit three people they will be quarantined for 10 days.
After that they will be transferred and put on a dangerous dog hold at the Humane Society until the court case is settled.
No word yet on the extent of the other two victim’s injuries.