Four-year-old Axel Donado was recovering at his grandmother’s house after a pit bull bit him on the neck and head last week near his family’s apartment in Allapattah.
The boy was released from Jackson Memorial Hospital with more than 15 stitches. His parents said he doesn’t want to return to the place where the incident happened Thursday night.
Witnesses interviewed by Miami-Dade Animal Services, said that two pit bulls came out of the house next to Axel’s, and the male bit the boy in his ear and the back of his head.
“It was an unprovoked attack, according to the witnesses we have,” said Luis Salgado, a spokesman of Animal Services.
Vivian Cardet, who was taking care of the dogs, disputed that version of the incident and said that several people were throwing rocks at the pit bulls, which are illegal in the county.
Oscar Dávila, Axel’s father, said his wife, Raisa Arcis, went out to walk Lolita, her 7-month-old Chihuahua, around 8 p.m. He said the neighbor’s pit bulls were barking on the other side of the gate, and then slipped under the chain-link fence and attacked the Chihuahua.
“My wife picked up her puppy and they attacked her,” Dávila said, adding that Arcis fell to the floor. “I opened the door and I saw her on the floor and ran to her.”
Dávila said that while he was helping his wife to get up and grab Lolita, one of the dogs attacked his son, who had come out when he heard the screaming.
“I kicked the dog to take my son away from the dog and my neighbor threw a rock,” said Dávila, who said that the dogs, which had no leashes, ran away.
Axel and his parents spent the whole night at the hospital. Because the boy wouldn’t stop crying, the doctors had to use general anesthesia to finish stitching the wounds, said Jenifer Lazo, the boy’s aunt.
“He is traumatized. He doesn’t want to go back there,” said Dávila, adding that this is the reason they are moving.
Lolita was also treated for a wound on her back.
Cardet said that she is sorry for the boy, but she told a different story of what happened. She said that the pit bull who bit the boy, Diesel, is a 6-month-old puppy and he was only playing with the Chihuahua.
She says that when he went under the fence to continue playing with Lolita, a group of adults and children made a circle around him and started throwing stones and beating him with a broomstick. The dog felt cornered and that is why he attacked the boy.
“These are gentle dogs,” said Cardet, who added that if the dogs, a mix of pit bull and bulldog, had not been docile, they would have by now attacked her cat and her other dog. “They love my cat.”
Cardet knows that pit bulls are banned from the county, but she said her niece had had surgery and could not take care of Diesel, and that the other pit bull belongs to her daughter, who moved in with her a month-and-a-half ago to take care of her because she also had had surgery.
Dávila, however, said the dogs have been there at least six months, since Cardet moved into the house, and that she sometimes leaves the gate open.
“And there are many children here,” Dávila said.
Animal Services gave Cardet 48 hours to get the female dog out of Miami-Dade and told her to keep the male dog in quarantine for 10 days, after which period she will have 48 hours to get him out of the county, too, Salgado said.
She will also have to pay a fine of $2,200 — $1,000 for the attack on the boy, $500 for each dog for being in Miami-Dade, $150 for leaving her property and $50 for not being able to prove that the dogs had been vaccinated against rabies.