Little boy killed in dog attack while playing outside his home in St. Clair County

Riverside police at the scene of a dog attack that left a 5-year-old boy dead, Sunday, April 6, 2014. (


A child is dead after a dog attack in Saint Clair County. Authorities say the incident happened in Riverside.

"The 5-year-old child was outside with his brother when authorities say he was attacked by a pitbull here on Honeysuckle Way. His brother then ran for help."

"It hurts."

Riverside Mayor Rusty Jessup is upset over the death of 5-year-old John Harvard attacked by a neighbor's pitbull Sunday afternoon. "It was running at large when this happened."

Mayor Jessup knows the family well. He says the 9-year-old tried to get the dog off his little brother before running to get their father.

Jessup says, "We think the dog might have been shot because the father did take some shots at the dog in an effort to get the child off the child."

Harvard was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Jessup says, "We can't say how sorry we are."

Mayor Jessup says there has never been a concern mentioned about the dog and there is no lease law in the city, but the issue has been brought up before. The mayor says the issue will most likely be brought up again in the wake of this tragedy.

"When something like this happens, you have to think are we doing the right thing?

The Saint Clair County Sheriff's Office says the dog have been taken to a local animal clinic. On Monday, the DA and the Sheriff's Office will make a determination on what to do next.

The St. Clair County Sheriff's Office is still investigating. No charges have been filed. The state's forensics lab in Huntsville will conduct an autopsy.

ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ala. -- A 5-year-old boy died Sunday after being attacked by a dog in Riverside, the St. Clair County Coroner's Office confirmed to ABC 33/40.

The victim, who has been identified as John Harvard, was playing with his 9-year-old brother in the family's yard when a dog attacked him. The boy was rushed to St. Vincent's St. Clair Hospital, where he later died.

Harvard's body is being sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Huntsville, where an autopsy will be performed Tuesday.

The dog, which Riverside Mayor Rusty Jessup described as a pit bull, has since been quarantined while an investigation continues.

Get the latest on this developing story on the News at 10 p.m., which you can watch live online by clicking here.

Updated at 8:35 p.m. to include the victim's name and hospital information.



close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off