Keith McAfee said he was helping his cousin with yard work nearby when he heard the girl screaming.
"The next thing I see is a black pit bull had a little girl on the ground. (It) was basically shaking her around like she was a rag doll," he said.
He said he approached the dog and attempted to scare it away, but it continued to attack the girl. She only escaped, according to McAfee, when her mother stepped in to grab her and run.
Shortly afterward, the pit bull's owner appeared. McAfee said the man grabbed the dog, put it in his car and drove away.
"He should have stayed," McAfee said. "He should have stayed and seen how that baby was, but to me he was a coward, ‘cause he left."
The 3-year-old victim was taken to Children’s Hospital and spent three hours in surgery for injuries to her legs and groin, police said.
Police stayed on the scene, but the driver and the dog had not been found by midnight Wednesday.
The attack brought back memories of a pit bull attack on 6-year-old Zainabou Drame in 2014.
She was mauled by two pit bulls on the sidewalk in front of her Westwood home until police arrived and shot the animals.
'It’s really indescribable and something no person should ever have to see and something we’ll never forget,' Cincinnati Police Officer Kyle Strunk said.
'I saw the brown dog, which was the bigger of the two dogs and he had the girl’s head in his mouth. He was slinging it around, thrashing his head back and forth with her in his mouth.'
The pit bulls ripped out Zainabou's tongue, tore her windpipe, ripped out most of her teeth and a third of her jaw bone. Her face was ripped apart and had to be reconstructed.
The courageous little girl went back to school but has a lot of surgeries ahead and an uncertain future.
She eats and drinks through a feeding tube into her stomach. Another tube in her throat helps her breathe. She can’t open her mouth. Her father, Abdoulaye, said she will almost certainly need the feeding tube for the rest of her life.
In 2012, Governor Kasich repealed the law which had declared pit bulls to be inherently dangerous.
(WCPO - April 13, 2017)
- Pit bull mauls 6-year-old: 'They had to basically put her face back on'
- Dramatic dashcam footage shows moment cops saved girl, 6, from attack by savage pit bulls outside her home
- Owner of dogs that mauled 6-year-old girl indicted
- County attempting to seize home of dog owner in pit bull attack
- Why is it so difficult to charge owners of vicious dogs after attacks?
- Should pit bull ban be reinstated?
- Girl attacked by dogs continues long recovery
- Zainabou Drame, mauled by pit bulls, probably won't see any money from $7.5 million lawsuit judgment
- Ohio: Zainabou Drame, the little girl who could: Life after pit bull attack