The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office has charged a couple with murder after their pit bull brutally attacked a child who was under their care. John Underwood II and Terra Connell have been charged with second-degree murder in connection to the death of 15-month old Payton Sawyers. The two had initially been charged with felony child neglect and possessing a vicious dog. Then Payton died of her injuries. Now the two are also facing murder charges. – DogsBite.org
Investigators say the 15-month-old has died of her injuries. On January 6, 2016 at about 9:30 p.m. Deputies, Rescue personnel and Animal Control responded to a 911 call at 443 Penn Ford Road in Independence. They met with the residents, John Underwood and Terra Connell. Underwood told investigators that he was awakened by the screams of a 15 month old child they were babysitting. The child had been mauled by their Pit Bull mix dog “E.J.” and had the child’s head in its mouth. Underwood was bitten in the face while trying to intervene in the attack of the child. The child was flown to Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she remains in critical condition. – WDBJ7.com
factU.S. fatal pit bull attacks have surpassed 370 since 1998; the last year the CDC studied fatal dog attack data by breed. In the last 8-year period of the CDC study (1991 to 1998), pit bulls averaged 3 deaths per year. From 2011 to 2018, the most recent 8-year period, pit bulls averaged 25.5 deaths per year, an increase of over 740%.