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Deputy shoots pit bulls chasing 8-year-old boy

May 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two pit bulls that were chasing an 8-year-old boy were fatally shot by a Riverside County sheriff's deputy when the dogs charged him.Deputy Bill Young responded to a report of dogs running loose and chasing people in the 10000 block of Stageline Street in Glen Ivy, south of Corona, at around 6:45 p.m. Thursday, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

Residents said the large pit bulls were aggressive, and that the deputy saved the youngster's life.

"I was shaking like a leaf. I've never seen anything like that in my life," said neighbor Wayne Benson, who saw the events unfold.

Benson said he spotted the dogs earlier in the day and called 911.

Young said that when he arrived, he saw the dogs running in 8-year-old Anthony Ferrell's direction, prompting him to position himself between the canines and the child.

"I thought they were going to catch up and get me," said Anthony.

"If it wasn't for the officer... I mean, the dogs saw the kid, they didn't walk, they took off running after the kid," said Benson.

The boy ran across the street to his house, as the deputy darted after them.

"I run up the stairs and was able to position my body between the dog and the door, with my back towards the boy and the door of his house," said Young.

The deputy said he opened fire when the animals came at him.

Neighbors said Young's actions were more than justified.

"I would say that he saved that little boy's life from either being mauled to death or very tore up," said Benson.

Anthony later personally thanked the deputy for helping him.

"The boy came up to me and then thanked me, and that really hit home because I have a child at home," said Young. "But at that second it was a split decision of the job, and I did I think what any other deputy would do."

A girl in the neighborhood was reportedly bitten by one of the dogs, but is going to be fine.

The Department of Animal Services issued two $119 citations to the owner of the dogs, who wasn't home at the time, for allowing them to run loose.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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