Rock Hill family upset after son bitten by dog

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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ROCK HILL, S.C. - A Rock Hill family is trying to make sure a dog that attacked their son Monday doesn't do it again.

Seven-year-old Trystian McFarland was walking up to a friend's door on Silverstream Drive when the front door opened and a pit bull mix ran out and jumped on him.

"I saw the dog lunge at my son, and I didn't think he'd been bit at first," said his father, Randy McFarland, who was waiting in his car.

"Then he turned around and I saw the blood coming down his face. He was running to me, crying, 'Daddy' and I grabbed him, ripped his shirt off, and wrapped it around his face," he said.

Trystian was left with seven stitches in his cheek, a bloody nose and several scratches.

His father told Channel 9 he's upset because Animal Control did not seize the dog from the home.

Animal Control officers were first notified of the bite through a notice from S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. When a person in South Carolina seeks medical treatment for a dog bite, it's reported to D-HEC, and the agency sends a notice to the county where it happened.

A check of animal control records found that officers had never been called to the home on Silverstream for any reason. Animal Control Drector Steve Stuber said another reason not to seize the dog has to do with where the attack happened.

"If this happens on the dog's property, it's considered a provoked attack," Stuber said. "Dogs are territorial and it's normal for them to take care of their property."

Officers would have to prove the dog was a dangerous, aggressive dog in order to get a court order to seize it.

Stuber said that's not likely in this case.

However, McFarland said there's another issue that he believes shows the dog that bit Trystian is dangerous. He told police that he spoke with the owners after the attack.

They told him their children were always supposed to knock on the door before coming inside, so someone in the house can put the dog away before opening the door. On this occasion, the children forgot to do that.

McFarland said that tells you a lot about the dog.

"I have a hard time understanding why you'd have an animal like that if that's the way you feel about it," he said. "There's something wrong."

Stuber said animal control officers are already counseling the dog's owners, and talking to them about making their home a safer environment.

The dog is now under a required 10-day rabies quarantine following a bite. That quarantine is happening at home.

McFarland said he simply doesn't want this to happen again.

"I don't think it's OK for a dog to bite under any circumstances," he said. "That's exactly what my concern, is that it will happen to another child. If it's not at this particular residence, it will be somewhere else."

McFarland said the dog's owners did call them to apologize. They have not been charged.

Trystian said he's still not afraid to go most places in his Rock Hill neighborhood.

"But I won't go over there anymore," he said.