Dog mauling witness: Pit bull ‘just like a demon’

Telegraph StaffMarch 15, 2013 

When Eddie Deeb heard the growls and the screams, it was almost too late.

He looked out his mother’s kitchen window and saw a gray, broad-shouldered pit bull thrashing, dragging something in his neighbor’s back yard.

“I said, ‘Oh God ... this dog’s on another dog.’ Then ... I saw arms and legs flailing,” Deeb said.

Five-year-old Anthony Ivey’s head was in the dog’s mouth.

Deeb, who had gone in the kitchen to get a glass of tea Thursday afternoon, bolted outside.

“The next thing really I knew, I had a pit bull up in the air,” he said.

He grabbed the dog by its collar and held it out.

“It was like having a good fish out of water ... then he quit fighting,” Deeb said. “He couldn’t bite me. He couldn’t do anything.”

Freed from the dog’s jaws, the boy stood up.

Anthony had cuts on both legs.

“Really bad, like torn flesh,” Deeb said. “The head and the face were completely bloody. ... The child’s scalp was laying on the ground.” One of his eyes was severely injured.

Someone took the boy inside.

And Deeb, left alone clutching the dog, thought, “I don’t know who has who.”

* * *

Rosemary Armstrong has been cleaning house and washing clothes for Charles and Teresa Gay for more than 20 years.

The Gays live near the end of Ousley Place, a dead end off Forest Hill Road in a nearly 50-year-old north Macon neighborhood.

Thursday, Armstrong had brought Anthony and another of her great-great-great-grandchildren, his 9-year-old brother, with her to the house. Their mother was starting a new job and didn’t have a babysitter.

She told the kids to watch TV.

Armstrong said she’d warned the boys about the Gays’ dog outside. “I told them that that gray dog was ... just like a demon.”

At one time, the Gays had five dogs. Three died, she and neighbors said, possibly victims of the pit bull.

She said Charles Gay took the boys outside to play on a swing set.

The next thing Armstrong knew, the older child was running to her saying, “Grandma, the dog’s out there eating up my baby brother!”

Armstrong, 78, rushed out.

Anthony wailed, “Get this dog off me!”

Armstrong spotted a shovel.

“I was gonna pick up that shovel,” she said, “and chop that dog’s head off.”

But she fell.

When Deeb arrived, he heard Armstrong yelling, “Get the dog! Get the dog!” while Charles Gay hollered “No!” to the dog.

Both Armstrong and Deeb said Gay did nothing to restrain the dog.

Gripping the animal by its collar, raising it in the air, Deeb considered twisting its neck and killing it.

But then the dog quit fighting and quivered, Deeb said, “like a puppy that had just been whupped.”

He let go of the dog and went back to his mother’s house.

Deeb sat down on a bed, shaking his head, breathless.

“I thought he was having a heart attack,” Martha Deeb, his 85-year-old mother, said. “He couldn’t talk.”

Then Eddie Deeb saw the pit bull across the street, near his 12-year-old neighbor Destiny Jackson, who was roller skating.

The dog nipped at her brother Preston, 10. It circled him like a shark and tried to knock him down.

“I saw the pit bull had blood on his mouth,” Preston said. “He was showing his teeth.”

Both children dashed into their house.

Their father, Larry Jackson, said, “It’s just been a disaster waiting to happen.”

* * *

When police arrived, Charles Gay said the children had seemed bored with TV.

So he took them outside.

“We only took a few steps from the house and the dogs charged the kids,” Gay said, according to a police report.

Gay, a lawyer, was jailed Thursday on a child-cruelty charge and bonded out Friday.

An officer noted in a report that Gay was “very nonchalant and even laughed,” saying, “I just never seen him (dog) do anything like that.”

Gay could not be reached for comment.

The pit bull was euthanized.

Police records show officers were dispatched to a dispute at the Gays’ house in 2008. A neighbor, who had a pitchfork and tried to kill the couple’s dog, claimed the dog had killed his cat. It’s unclear whether the dog was the same one that attacked Anthony Ivey.

* * *

Armstrong said she’s willing to keep working for the Gays, if they still want her.

They’ve treated her like a member of the family.

Anthony was still at The Children’s Hospital at The Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon late Friday.

“That’s a strong little boy,” Armstrong said.

He’s lucky to be alive.

“If (the dog) had gotten to his throat that baby would have been dead,” Armstrong said.

When she visited him Friday, Anthony sat up in his hospital bed and said, “Grandma, don’t cry and don’t be angry. I’m all right.”

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398. To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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