Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

3 Dogs Attack Youngster in City Park

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

3 Dogs Attack Youngster in City Park

Article excerpt

As three shepherd-mix dogs mauled a 10-year-old boy in Sherman Park, neighbor Clyde Griffin fired four pistol shots into the air.

After each shot, the dogs would stare back at Griffin, then resume tearing into the boy. Griffin said he never aimed the gun at the dogs for fear he might shoot the boy.

On Griffin's fifth shot - his last bullet - he chased the dogs away, and he was able to run to the boy.

"He was bleeding something terrible, and he looked up at me and said, `Mister, would you please help me?' " Griffin recalled Saturday.

"Then I turned around and got the fright of my life. The three dogs were coming back. And I was out of bullets."

Griffin was spared injury when a security guard and other passers-by scared the dogs off, ending the attack on a baseball diamond in Sherman Park about 5 p.m. Friday.

The boy, Samuel Johnson, later underwent surgery at St. Louis Children's Hospital. He was in serious condition Saturday night. A hospital administrator said the boy "had multiple, multiple bites - like 50," mainly on his arms and legs.

Sherman Park is near Cote Brilliante and Academy avenues. A St. Louis animal control officer captured the dogs about 30 minutes after the mauling. The dogs are being kept in pens and will be monitored for 10 days for signs of rabies.

The dogs belonged to Samuel's uncle and had been left to guard the abandoned house and property of Samuel's grandparents near the park. Someone would sporadically drop by to feed the dogs and give them water.

Samuel's mother, Sharon Wade, said Samuel would have to begin physical therapy to learn how to walk again because some of the 50 bites injured a joint in his knee. In the fall, Samuel will begin fourth grade at Trautwein Elementary School.

Wade thanked Griffin for helping save her son's life. Griffin, an electrician, lives near Sherman Park. …

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