According to police and the victim’s family, an 11-year-old boy was attacked by his aunt’s therapy dog at her downtown Manhattan apartment on Tuesday afternoon.
The boy was seriously injured with wounds to his face, eye, head and arm after an American bully-pit bull mix named Aries attacked him at the Smith Houses around 2:50 p.m., law enforcement officials and police said.
The victim, identified by family as Joshua, was in stable condition at Bellevue Hospital after the attack, authorities said. The boy’s aunt, Johanna Lopez-Ramos, said he underwent surgery early Tuesday evening.
The young victim and his twin brother, who both recently moved into the apartment after their mother died of cancer, “overwhelmed” the dog before the attack, Lopez-Ramos believes.
“So I’m guessing her strength was too much for the dog,” she told reporters outside her apartment. “I assume that must have happened.”
Lopez-Ramos said she was in the bathroom at the time of the attack.
“I just heard my nephew scream and ran out of the bathroom. I just had to react quickly to separate them,” she said, noting that she was also bitten during the fight.
The young victim’s twin brother, Julian, said he saw the incident and quickly ran away.
The NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit is caring for the animal, police said.
Authorities took the animal away in a crate and Lopez-Ramos said she would have the dog euthanized.
Lopez-Ramos claimed the dog had never shown any violence prior to Tuesday’s scary moment and that the pup is in fact her mental health therapy dog.
“I’m honestly a bit disturbed because he’s my emotionally supportive dog,” she said.
“It’s scary because I’ve never seen anything like it,” Lopez-Ramos said. “I see it all the time on the news, along with other kids and other people, but I’ve never seen it on my face.”
Additional reporting by Amanda Woods