Local News

'He was screaming:' Victim describes Rottweiler attack that hospitalized multiple people

Posted July 25, 2021 4:27 p.m. EDT
Updated July 26, 2021 3:23 p.m. EDT

— Four people were attacked by Rottweilers in a Raleigh neighborhood on Sunday – including a 70-year-old grandfather and a 6-year-old child. At least three victims were hospitalized.

Bobby Smith, who lives at the end of the cul-de-sac, said the two dogs attacked his family, including his 23-year-old son, Joey Smith, and his 70-year-old father-in-law.

He was making lunch when he heard his father-in-law yelling for him.

"I open the door I seen him laying there with his head up against the back door, and he was screaming. He was starting to cry," said Bobby.

Joey Smith, his son, said one of the dogs latched onto his arm while he was trying to fight it off his grandfather.

"They started biting my son, so I drug Grandpa inside the house and then I went out to help my son and started hitting them with a broom," said Bobby.

The dogs then ran down the road, where they attacked another family – a father and his 6-year-old son, who did not want to give their names. The father used a knife to stab one of the dogs to defend himself and his child.

Joey said one dog got its whole mouth around his forearm, leaving multiple puncture wounds and lacerations. His grandfather was so badly bitten that his family wrapped his wounds with a homemade tourniquet until EMS arrived.

"His right leg got chewed up real bad," said Bobby of his father-in-law.

All victims were sent to the hospital after the attack, but all of them are safely home except Joey's grandfather, who suffered from shock and is still being treated.

Officials said that the two dogs were captured on a trail behind Shelburne Drive.

The dogs were not owned by any of the people attacked, officials said, but by a man named Cyril Alhaj Chesson, 39, who lives in a nearby neighborhood. He was arrested on Sunday afternoon and charged with attack by dangerous dog and breaking a local ordinance for animal at-large.

Cyril Alhaj Chesson

Recent slew of dog attacks

Researchers say there's been an increase in dog bites since stay-at-home orders were put in place to curb the coronavirus pandemic. That increase has not gone away, even after stay-at-home orders were lifted.

Experts believe that dogs, too, are experiencing stress from the COVID-19 pandemic. That type of behavior is called, "emotional contagion," according to experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition to stress, they are now more exposed to children who are doing school from home.

On Wednesday, a woman was hospitalized after she was attacked by a pack of five dogs in Moore County.

In April, a child of a WRAL-TV employee was killed in Garner. A month after that, a baby was killed by two dogs in Johnston County.

According to Raleigh Police, which Animal Control is a part of, nearly 3,000 calls for animal bites have gone out in the city since 2018. That's an average of 880 per year. The majority of those calls are for dog bites, officials said.

The majority of bites are reported in April and May.

North Carolina law requires that serious bites be reported to the state health department.

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