Dog's owner devastated following attack

Published: .
Updated: .

An 11-year-old boy is recovering in the hospital after a dog attacked and mauled him. It happened Friday evening in the 200 block of Tacoma St.

The attack didn't end until a man next door shot and killed the dog.

Neighbors were still talking about the traumatic event today after witnessing what Robin Franklin called, "the worst thing she's ever seen".

"He was going for the kill. That dog was owned to kill that kid not bite nobody else," said Robin Franklin, a neighbor.

That dog belonged to the boy's mother's boyfriend. We caught up exclusively with the dog's owner who says he's devastated over the whole thing.

"My dog and my girlfriend's kid. I feel pretty bad over it," said Keith Phillips, the dog's owner.

Keith Phillips says no one is more upset that his dog attacked a child than he is. He didn't want to show his face, but was more than willing to talk saying the boy is doing well.

"He's okay. He's up and talking. He's mobile," said Phillips

Phillips says he's had Mercedes for 1.5 years. It's one of two pit bulls he owned. He says he favors the breed because they make good guard dogs. But, Phillips says Mercedes was also good around children playing with his three and others in the neighborhood. Still, he knew she was no angel.

"I know that she is mean. She's a mean dog, but when you live in a place like this, it don't hurt to have a mean dog," said Phillips.

But, she proved just how mean she could be yesterday when she attacked his girlfriend's 11-year-old son, biting his leg, his back, his arm and refusing to let go.

"All the fireworks, she might have been nervous from all the fireworks. I don't know. I don't know what set her off," said Phillips.

Regardless of what started it, it took gunfire to end it. The next door neighbor fired one, two, three, four, then six shots in all before the dog died.

"I would have still told him to shoot the dog. Get the dog off the kid. That kid's more important than that dog. It was my dog, if she bites someone, shoot her," said Phillips.

But, this wasn't the first time this same dog has injured a child. It happened last May. Phillips says she scratched an 8-year-old on the side of the face.

"He was cited for owner responsibility for attack," said Daniel Shackle, Indianapolis Animal Care and Control.

"It was just a scratch. They didn't even come and get her. If she had attacked a kid, they would have come and took my dog," said Phillips.

And we asked Dan Shackle with Animal Care and Control why they didn't take the dog last year.

"The dog wasn't confiscated at that time because the wounds at that time were relatively minor," said Shackle.

Phillips wasn't home during Friday's attack. He said the dog wasn't supposed to be out of her cage without his supervision saying his son let her out without permission.

"If I had been here, it would have never happened because I was the only person she'd listen to. I was her owner," said Phillips.

While he admits he misses his dog, he also knows it was the right ending for such a vicious act.

Keith Phillips faces several citations for his dog's attack including lack of rabies vaccine, something he was also cited for last May. Phillips could receive up to $7,500 in fines and a judge could prevent him from owning animals in the future. He goes to court August 12.