BY KEN LITTLE
Brandy Ranly, a mother in Chuckey, is grateful beyond words that her 4-year-old son is on the mend after a vicious attack by a pit bull dog Saturday afternoon at a family gathering in South Carolina.
Thirty-pound Christopher Ranly was attacked by the adult male pit bull during a holiday get-together of her husband's side of the family in Colleton County, S.C., west of Charleston.
The dog clamped down on the child's head after the boy wandered out of the house into an area where the animal was free on a runner.
Relatives of her husband, Chris, were able to pry the dog off the child, who was rushed to the local hospital and then transferred to Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital in Charleston.
Doctors put 30 staples in the boy's head, and a drain to prevent infection from the wound. He was released Monday.
The family is staying with relatives of her husband near Charleston until early January, when the staples can be removed.
Christopher doesn't appear to remember the attack, but the little boy's "demeanor" has changed since it happened, his mother said Wednesday in a telephone interview.
"I'm just thanking God non-stop my son is alive. There still is that chance of infection, and that is my major concern at this time -- to get him better," Ranly said.
Ranly said there were about 50 adults and children gathered at the house of her husband's uncle.
Two pit bulls had been outside on a runner. One of them had been secured in another area, but Ranly and others thought both dogs had been removed.
She said her son came into the kitchen and asked for an apple. As she was preparing a drink for him, she continued, he wandered outside.
"There were no warning signs," she said. "I heard some screaming, and I heard them say, 'Christopher!' and I ran out there."
One of her husband's brothers works in animal control and knew how to relax the pit bull's vice grip on the boy's head. Others freed the child.
"He didn't make a sound. He was in shock," Ranly said. "The whole back of his head was in the dog's mouth."
Christopher started screaming for all he was worth once he was pulled away by his grandmother.
"The way my brother-in-law put it, 'He [the dog] was shaking him like a rag doll,'" Ranly said.
Christopher also suffered a broken right thumb and lacerations on his right hand during the attack.
"I'm very grateful that God put the right people in the right place at the right time, or he would be gone," she said.
There have been at least 19 fatal attacks on people in the U.S. this year by pit bulls or pit bull-mix dogs., and most of the victims are children, according to the website http://fatalpitbullattacks.com/
The staff at Children's Hospital in Charleston "was absolutely wonderful" with Christopher, Ranly said.
She has no doubt what should be done with the dog that attacked her son.
"The owner could not find his rabies papers, and the dog is quarantined. The owner isn't quite sure what they are going to do at this time," Ranly said.
"I think the dog should be euthanized at the very least.
"Kids, they don't recognize danger with animals. They just see something fuzzy and want to love on it," she said.