An 11-year-old boy suffered an attack from his aunt’s therapy dog within her downtown Manhattan apartment on Tuesday afternoon, as reported by both law enforcement officials and the victim’s family.
The incident left the boy with severe injuries to his face, eye, head, and arm after the American Bully pit bull mix named Aries lunged at him around 2:50 p.m. at the Smith Houses, according to police sources and authorities.
The young victim, identified as Joshua by his family, was in stable condition at Bellevue Hospital after the attack, as stated by officials. The boy’s aunt, Johanna Lopez-Ramos, confirmed that he underwent surgery early that Tuesday evening.
Lopez-Ramos believes that her nephew and his twin brother, who had recently moved into the apartment following their mother’s death from cancer, were overwhelming the dog prior to the attack. She expressed, “So I guess their strength was too much for the dog. I’m assuming that that must have been what happened.”
The attack occurred while Lopez-Ramos was in the bathroom. She recounted, “I just heard my nephew screaming and I came running out of the bathroom, and I just had to react quickly to separate them,” noting that she was also bitten during the struggle.
The young victim’s twin brother, Julian, who witnessed the incident, quickly fled the scene.
The NYPD’s Department of Emergency Service Unit has taken charge of the animal, as per the police. The dog was removed from the premises in a crate, and Lopez-Ramos expressed her intention to have the dog euthanized.
Lopez-Ramos emphasized that the dog had never exhibited violence prior to this alarming incident and that the pup had actually been her therapy dog for mental health support. She shared her distress, saying, “I feel a little distraught, to be honest, because he’s my dog who supports me emotionally.”
Reflecting on the rarity of the situation, Lopez-Ramos stated, “It’s terrifying because I’ve never seen such a thing. I see it on the news all the time with other kids and other people, but I’ve never seen it in my face.”