Pit bull bites boy, 10; Police capture suspect
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN — An elementary-school student is recovering from wounds he received during a pit bull attack at a bus stop on the city’s South Side.
Toris Gonner, 10, of South Heights Avenue was rushed to the hospital just after 8:30 a.m. with a dog bite to his lower leg. The boy’s grandfather, Ronell Waller, said the injuries are not life threatening.
Waller is still surprised that the attack took place at a busy intersection where kids catch the bus at various times in the morning each weekday.
“We have never had these problems before. These kids catch the bus here every morning,” he said.
Police took Dustin Anglin, 22, also of South Heights Avenue, into custody several hours after Gonner had been attacked because Anglin is believed to be the owner of the dog.
Mahoning County Dog Warden Nelson said Anglin could face a list of charges including charges related to saying he did not own the dog. He said officials will collaborate and check the boy’s condition to see what charges will be filed.
Gonner’s Friday morning began like it does for many 10-year-old students in the area — a walk to the bus stop with his younger sister 9-year-old Vinnasia McGary. The day took a turn just as the two children reached the bus stop at the corner of South Heights Avenue and Sheridan Road.
Mary Campbell, a South Heights Avenue neighbor of the children, was sitting in her car near the bus stop waiting to put her children on the school bus just as Toris and Vinnasia approached the stop.
“This corner is where all the kids in the neighborhood get the bus,” said Campbell. “Today was just different because their grandmother or mom usually bring them down for the bus but today they didn’t.”
Campbell said a large brown and white pit bull dog and a smaller dog ran out as the two kids approached the corner. The large dog immediately went after Gonner, she said, biting him on the leg and then running to Anglin’s small house nearest to the corner.
Vinnasia said she remembers the dog coming out and biting her brother. She said she was able to run and jump in Campbell’s car when the dog came out.
Firefighters Chris Brown and Bill Palma, at a nearby fire station on Midlothian Boulevard, noticed the commotion and ran over to offer treatment to the bleeding boy.
“If it wasn’t for them, this little boy could have bled to death,” said Campbell.
Campbell said she exchanged words with Anglin after the attack, asking if the dog belonged to him, but he denied owning a pit bull. She said Anglin told her his dog had been stolen several months ago, then left his residence.
Youngstown police officers arrived at the home minutes after the attack and could hear a large dog barking inside the home.
Nelson also arrived at the home minutes after the attack and asked for a search warrant to search the house for the dog.
He said Anglin had also told him that he does not own a pit bull.
Before officers and animal control could enter the home by force, Anglin returned to the residence. About 15 minutes later he emerged from the house with a large brown and white pit bull.
Campbell, standing with a very reluctant and seemingly afraid Vinnasia, identified the dog along with the child before the animal was placed in the county dog warden van.
Police searched the home and took Anglin into custody.
“This is just crazy that these kids can’t wait on the bus to get an education because of these pit bulls and people ... who own them,” said Nelson. “We are going to protect these kids.”
Nelson said owners of pit bulls are required to carry $100,000 insurance on the animal and keep it confined in a 6-by-6-foot pen. There was no visible enclosed fence on the Anglin property.