Mother of Riverside boy killed in dog attack terrorized by pit bull at son's gravesite
By Sherrie Evans
Johnna Harvard lost her son in a pit bull attack in April.She says another pit bull went after her while visiting her son's grave site in Pell City, then tried to attack a police officer."This is a nightmare. I'll never see my child again until we make it to heaven. For now, this is all we have."Johnna Harvard just wanted to visit her son John's grave in peace.It's been nearly 3 months since the 5-year-old was killed by a pit bull in Riverside. But, the last few weeks have been a painful reminder of that tragedy."These dogs are everywhere. They are not being properly leashed and cared for. That's what caused my son's death."She says a pit bill terrorized her twice while visiting her son's grave site. It charged at her and others Sunday. She says it even damaged the grave site.Harvard says, "We were able to jump back in the vehicle and call 9-1-1." Captain Joshua Herren with Pell City Police says, "As the officer started to back away, the dog charged the officer and officer was forced to discharge the firearm."Harvard captured the incident on video. "She had to shoot it." "When that happened yesterday, I was shocked the dog was still there. It charged, it was not going to stop."After losing a son to a dog attack and almost becoming a victim, Harvard says there needs to be stronger leash laws and regulations, especially where pit bulls are concerned. "We need to do something on a state level because that was the closest I've ever felt to death and I had that fear of being chased by an animal. I felt like I felt what my son felt and no one should feel that way."Pell City does have a leash law. Captain Herren says, "It only takes a second outside their control for an animal to become aggressive."The dog later died after it was shot. We did talk to a neighbor who said the dog had never been violent before. We tried to talk to the owner, but they were not home. Police have not been able to contact the owner.Harvard, who says she has always liked dogs, plans on contacting state leaders about creating stronger laws. She wants to prevent anyone else from going through the same situation. The family does has a memorial fund set up at Wells Fargo in John Triton Harvard's name.
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ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama offers news, sports, and weather reporting for the surrounding communities including Tuscaloosa, Anniston, Cullman, Gadsden, Talladega, Sylacauga, Carbon Hill, Jasper, Hoover, Bessemer, Vestavia Hills, Alabaster, Trussville and Homewood.