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Boy attacked by dog gets 200 stitches

The 3-year-old boy who was attacked by a pit bull Tuesday afternoon needed more than 200 stitches and is currently recovering at home, his family said.

Ricky Preston's grandmother said he was playing in the backyard of a home in the 1100 block of Lagonda Avenue when a pit bull, which was on a leash, got loose and charged into the yard.

His family at the time described his injuries as "pretty severe." They said he will return to the hospital on Thursday.

The grandmother, Sonja Preston, said the dog grabbed the boy by the head, began shaking him and would not let go.

"My grandchildren all come in the back door screaming," she said.

A granddaughter ran out and began beating the dog, but the dog would not release the child, Preston said. The granddaughter and a next-door neighbor continued to beat the dog until it let go and the boy was taken to Springfield Regional Medical Center.

"I didn't know what to think," she said.

Ricky was transferred to Dayton Children's Hospital where he was being evaluated in the emergency room at 10:45 p.m. and said to be in fair condition, according to an official with the hospital.

"I just want my grandson to be alright," Preston said.

A crew with the Clark County Humane Society has the dog and will quarantine it, said Jimmy Straley, humane society executive director/chief dog warden.

The owner, who lives in the neighborhood, has been cited by the humane society with failure to license, failure to inoculate and failure to control the animal, Straley said.

He can legally get the dog back if he wants, but he'll have to allow it to be quarantined because of potential rabies issue, Straley said.

The owner will have to get a proper dog license and will have to do things to contain the animal -- muzzling him, for example -- because the humane society will label the dog as dangerous or vicious depending on the severity of the wounds and the details of what happened.

The child had been taken away or was about to be taken away when humane society crew arrived, Straley said.

"From what I understand, they were pretty severe," Straley said of the boy's wounds.

Springfield police Lt. Jeff Meyer said the dog's owner, 51-year-old Robert Rife, tried to walk away from police but was quickly taken into custody.

Rife was not arrested, Meyer said, but was cited into court on the three minor misdemeanor citations he was given by the humane society crew. The case will be reviewed by the Clark County Prosecutor's Office to see if more charges are warranted.

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