Autopsy results show that a toddler attacked Thursday by a relative's pit bull died from puncture wounds to his jugular vein and carotid artery. A Charleston man was bitten in the face by another pit bull the same day.
Dorchester County Chief Deputy Coroner Perida Moultrie did not know Friday how many times 2-year-old Holden Jernigan was bitten and said it might be another week before she has complete autopsy results.
Holden wandered out the back door of his grandmother's Summerville home at 129 Barshay Drive and into the fenced back yard. The dog was chained when authorities arrived. There were two "Beware of dog" signs in the front windows of the house.
The dog has been quarantined and will remain so for at least 10 days, Animal Control Supervisor Officer Melissa McKee said Thursday. McKee could not be reached Friday to see if the animal had a history of complaints, but the fatal attack was its first recorded bite.
McKee didn't know how long the grandmother, Tracey Shelton, had the dog. The full-blooded male weighs about 40 pounds and McKee said there is no record it has had its shots.
A second person was attacked by a pit bull Thursday in West Ashley.
David Michel, 28, of Charleston, was visiting a friend on Wesley Drive about 5 p.m. As he gave a back rub to Angus, a 2-year-old, gray pit bull, the dog suddenly attacked.
"He leaped up toward my face and bit me on my lower jaw," Michel said. "He held on just a couple of seconds and he let go."
Michel turned his back on the dog and screamed for help as the dog lunged at him. His friend managed to pull the dog away, he said.
Michel suffered cuts and puncture wounds on his lip and jaw, and a doctor at Medical University Hospital sewed him up with 12 stitches.
"I've been to the house multiple times and seen the dog before, but this time, I guess, he was just a little bit more excited than normal," Michel said.
Bernard Krafsig, the owner of the dog, declined to comment about the incident or the dog's future. Charleston Animal Control plans to investigate the bite next week.
Pit bull dogs aren't necessarily any more aggressive than other breeds, said Kay Hyman, director of outreach and communications for Charleston Animal Society. But their bite can be deadly.
"Pit bulls, when they do bite, the bite is very serious because their jaws are so powerful, and they do tend to not let go," Hyman said.
Humans are more likely to be bitten by smaller dogs, such as Chihuahuas, dachshunds and cocker spaniels, she said.
"The only difference is the amount of damage it can do," Hyman said. "You don't hear about Chihuahuas killing people."
Marcus Grant, Charleston's animal control supervisor, has a different view.
"Pit bulls just have it in their blood. They're vicious dogs. They turn on you for no reason," Grant said. "My honest opinion is that they should just be outlawed."