By Ed Brock
A 10-year-old girl was badly injured when a dog coming from the home of outgoing Clayton County Board of Education Chairwoman Nedra Ware attacked her.
Erica Thomas was riding her bike with another girl on Creekridge Circle in Jonesboro near where she lived around 4:06 p.m. Sunday when the dog, a pit bull terrier, began chasing them, according to Clayton County Police Officer Thomas Edwards. Thomas told police she fell off her bike and the dog took hold of her leg.
A witness told police she saw the dog attacking the girl and shouted at her not to move. She then got another neighbor to come help and that man grabbed a big stick and approached the dog. The dog ran away when the man approached and the female witness followed it to Ware's house at 8324 Creek Ridge Circle where she secured it in the backyard.
The witness said the backyard fence gate was slightly ajar.
Thomas suffered injuries to her right calf and left upper arm and was taken to Southern Regional Medical Center for treatment. She was at her sister's house on Monday night, said Thomas' grandmother Melanie Beasley, while the girl's mother Terrie Thomas was at work.
"That dog tore up my granddaughter. The dog bit her so bad they couldn't use stitches, they had to use staples," Beasley said. "That dog about ate my grandchild up."
Terrie Thomas said that Ware said the dog belonged to her son and that it played with children all the time.
Ware said somebody apparently came in the gate and left it open.
"We don't know, we weren't home," Ware said.
Ware said she didn't want to comment on the incident beyond that statement.
But Thomas says she doesn't think somebody had to open the gate.
"You can look at the gate and tell that the gate is broken," Thomas said. "Nobody opened the gate, the gate is just broken."
Thomas said she is planning to sue Ware but she has spoken to an attorney yet. Her daughter is suffering from more than just her physical injuries, Thomas added.
"Mentally my daughter is just terrified," Thomas said.
Police issued citations for Ware on misdemeanor charges of not having a valid tag for the dog, having a dog running at large and having an animal creating a nuisance.
Those citations had not been served as of Monday evening.
Edwards seized the dog and it will be held in quarantine for 10 days.