14-Month-Old Girl Dies After Pit Bull Attack

Published: Nov. 7, 2005 at 4:47 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2006 at 4:47 PM EST
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By David McArthur

(LOUISVILLE) -- A 14-month-old girl died Sunday after being attacked by a pit bull that belonged to her family. Kylee Johnson died about two hours after she was bitten in the back of the head. WAVE 3's David McArthur reports.

Kylee died just after 3 p.m. Sunday at Kosair Children's Hospital from a dog bite to the head, Jefferson County deputy coroner Walt Elder said Monday.

Looking at the dog isolated in quarantine, Metro Animal Services Director Gilles Meloche didn't seem surprised by the deadly attack. "He's very distant, doesn't approach. Doesn't want to be bothered."

Investigators say the dog was in its Lake Dreamland home about 1 p.m. Sunday when it turned on 14-month-old Kylee Johnson while it was being fed.

She was taken to Kosair Children's Hospital, but died shortly after 3 p.m.. from the dog bite in her head.

Officials at Metro Animal Services emphasize any dog bite is serious, but say a bite from a pit bull can be lethal because of the way the jaw locks.

They do not advise having pit bulls around children, and owners of pit bulls are also advised to take serious precautions.

Meloche says "It's safe if you take all the precaution that is needed. That is: make sure it's coming from a family that has never been used to fight. A family that the genes are good, they are good with other pets, and never shown aggression."

The parents have surrendered the pit bull to authorities. It will remain in quarantine for 10 days to make sure it doesn't have rabies before it's put to sleep.

Meloche says because Kylee's dad, Derrick Johnson, signed the dog over to Animal Services, a judge's order won't be needed to euthanize it.

Police do not expect to file any charges.

Meloche says there is a lesson here for all dog owners, regardless of the breed, who show any aggressive signs. "All the time, you have to favor your kids before the dog. It's a tough decision, but the best decision."

Johnson told WAVE he never had any problems with the dog before, and he asked that the family's privacy be respected awhile before making further comments.

Police do not expect to file any criminal charges against Kylee's parents.

Online Reporter: David McArthur

Online Producer: Michael Dever