Friday, December 19, 2008

Pit Bull Owner Sentenced To 275 Days In Jail

OMAHA, Neb. - The woman whose pit bull attacked an infant, nearly scalping the girl, has been sentenced to 275 days in jail for harboring a dangerous dog.

Tina Agerson will report to jail on Jan 5.

Agerson called it a "freak accident" in June when her dog broke free from its collar and attacked 15-month-old Charlotte Blevins as Blevins' mother pulled her in a wagon.

The attack left the girl without a third of her scalp. Doctors performed a surgery after the attack to reattach about 80 percent of the scalp, but they said the girl faces several years of operations to fully recover.

Despite the sentencing, Blevins' mother, Wendy, said she will still deal with the aftermath of the attack.

"I always feel like I have to have an escape route," Wendy said. "Like, I can't go into Petco anymore, like I'm trapped in the store with dogs," she said.

On top of the emotional scars, Wendy said she is also struggling financially. She said she is facing $9,000 in medical bills for her daughter's treatment.

Agerson's attorney said his client has struggled with mental disabilities and has repeatedly apologized for the attack.

"She did not raise the dog to be a cruel animal," said attorney Jeff Courtney.

After Agerson's pit bull, Duke, was put to death by authorities, Agerson bought another dog, a German Shepherd, and named it Little Duke. In court on Thursday, a judge asked Agerson why she did this. Agerson had no response.

The attack set off a public debate that eventually spurred the creation of a strict, city-wide dangerous dog ordinance. Starting Jan. 1, all pit bulls must wear a muzzle unless they pass a canine "good citizen" test.

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