Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No explanation for bullmastiff biting baby in Pasco

ST. PETERSBURG — Brandi Dunn has known Champ since he was a puppy. The dog is 3 now, a fully grown bullmastiff. She doesn't own him but, almost every day, she has taken care of him for a friend. The two are buddies. She keeps pictures of him on her cellphone.

But standing before a row of reporters and TV cameras outside All Children's Hospital, she couldn't plead for his life.

"I love the dog more than anything," the Pasco County woman said. "But I can't look at him the same way."

On Friday afternoon, Champ was at home in Holiday with his owner, Meghan Pittman, when Stephanie Murphy and her son, Joshua, who is 10 months old, visited. The boy, who can't walk on his own, and the dog, whose head is the size of a soccer ball, had been around each other many times. Joshua liked to give him hugs and pull on his lips.

About 2 p.m., the baby was sitting on the floor with his back to a couch when, for just a moment, Murphy turned her back to speak with Pittman, according to Murphy's family. She heard growling behind her.

Champ had sunk his teeth into Joshua.

Murphy, 24, of Tarpon Springs, sped her son to a local hospital. His condition was so serious that emergency workers flew him to All Children's where he underwent a lengthy surgery.

Doctors expect him to fully recover, but he has a gash from his forehead to his upper lip, puncture wounds in his chest and deep cuts on his shoulder, neck and head.

Dunn, 19, and Murphy's sister, Jessica Dyrmishi, 25, briefly met with reporters Saturday afternoon to explain what had happened.

Dunn described Champ as a kind, loving dog that had never shown aggression toward anyone. She struggled to explain why he attacked.

"I think it was honestly too much testosterone," she said. "We didn't get him fixed like we should have."

She said Pittman had gotten Champ just two months ago from a friend. He had previously been abused.

It's still unclear whether the dog, which was taken by Pasco County Animal Services, will be euthanized, but neither Dunn nor Pittman intend to fight for his life. They understand.

"We can't have him back," Dunn said.

The family's version of the story differs slightly from a report released by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Murphy, detectives said, was talking to her friend outside, not inside, when the dog attacked.

"As far as I'm concerned, that's a minor point. We don't think the mother was negligent whatsoever," said sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll. "Something just happened in an instant."

No explanation for bullmastiff biting baby in Pasco 06/15/13 [Last modified: Sunday, June 16, 2013 12:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pepin daughters to take on Mount Kilimanjaro

    Human Interest

    About seven years ago, Tom Pepin and his four daughters stood at 12,000 feet, overlooking the Colorado Rockies during an outward bound survival training mission.

    From left, Christina Pepin, Lauren Pepin (Tom’s Wife), Cassie Pepin, Allie Pepin, Bella Pepin and Tom Pepin take a break during an outward bound survival training mission in Colorado.
  2. Music, memories, friendships lend energy to 'Senior Prom'

    Aging

    RIVERVIEW — Mesmerizing music mixed with the mingling of friends to energize and engage a congregation of old souls Thursday (June 22).

    Louise Goff of Brandon does line dances during the annual Senior Prom hosted by Hillsborough County Aging Services at the Regent in Brandon.
  3. Tampa's two 'Olivias' maintain friendship as they vie for Miss Florida

    News

    TAMPA — Olivia Butler, referring to a Biblical passage, assesses her burgeoning friendship with Olivia Fiss as "iron sharpening iron."

    Olivia Butler, left, and Olivia Fiss are two friends who are competing together in the Miss Florida pageant as Miss Tampa and Miss St. Petersburg.
  4. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times