Thursday, December 8, 2016

West Virginia: Pit bull which killed 6-year-old boy was his "best friend", says his aunt

WEST VIRGINIA --  A family is mourning the loss of a 6-year-old boy police say was killed by a dog.

The family of Isaiah Jacob Franklin said the dog attacked Friday at a home in the 2600 block of 9th Avenue without provocation and without warning. Isaiah died from his injuries.

While animal control is trying to have the dog euthanized, for the first time Monday, the family is sharing their story.

Why is Animal control trying to have the dog euthanized? If the owners surrender it, it will be euthanized. Does this mean the owner actually wants the dog back??

They hope to remember Isaiah's life, not his death.

"His smile, definitely his smile,” said Isaiah’s aunt Jenni Messer with a tear when asked what she would miss most about her nephew. “You could be having the worst day in the world and soon as you seen him, you had to light up."

Franklin went by Isaiah to his friends and classmates at Spring Hill Elementary in Huntington where he was in kindergarten. But his family called him Jacob.

He loved church and music. Messer said also loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

"He was probably their number one fan," she remembers with a smile.

His tastes were so consistent she didn’t worry about getting a Christmas gift so early that he would change his mind about what he wanted.

He also loved the color orange. Every birthday when she bought him a pair of shoes, they had to have orange on them somewhere.

"His favorite thing in the world is the color orange. Even before he knew how to say orange or to identify colors, he was always drawn to orange," Messer said.

While Isaiah had been shy for most of his life, she adds he really flourished and became more outgoing in school, quick to ask questions and quick to help.

As for Friday night. Messer said Isaiah was finishing up one last video game before bed, with two other adults in the room and his mother in the next room.

A 3-year-old pit bull named Tiny was there too, who had lived with the family since he was a puppy.

"The dog was never aggressive, ever," said Messer. “He was a very nice dog. There was no signs at all that he would ever, ever do anything like that, because if so, the dog would not have been in the house."

Messer adds Tiny was trained well, even pampered. She calls him a nice dog who Isaiah would even take on walks.

But Messer said with no warning signs, no growls, no one even interacting with Tiny at the time, he attacked Isaiah.

"They were very best friends. The dog was always with the kids,” she said. “We want answers. We don't have them. We have no idea what happened."

Messer says the adults in the house did all they could to save him, but Isaiah did not survive.

A boy who loved helping others, a middle child who was a good protector of his two sisters, gone far too soon.

Messer said the entire family is thankful for all the support from the community, including donations and prayers from even strangers in the last few days.

Isaiah's funeral is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Collins Funeral Home outside Logan in Switzer. The visitation is set from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday.

In honor of Isaiah's passions, attendees are asked to wear either the color orange or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles attire.

Animal control is now seeking to get the dog euthanized. It's a motion that was expected to happen Monday, but Is currently in the hands of the prosecutor's office and is now likely to happen Tuesday.

Spring Hill Elementary released a few balloons Monday morning in Isaiah's honor and to help some of his friends grieve. But school officials say most of his classmates are too young to understand what happened. There were some extra counselors at the school, too.

UPDATE 12/4/16 @ 6:50 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W. VA. (WSAZ) -- Animal Control will seek a motion in court to have the pit bull that attacked and killed a 6-year-old boy euthanized.

According to the City of Huntington Communications Director, Bryan Chambers, Huntington Animal Control will seek a motion to in court to euthanize the dog first thing Monday morning.

The fatal dog attack happened at a home in the 2600 block of 9th Avenue Friday evening.

WSAZ has learned the child and the dog were living in the same household.

Huntington Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli says investigators have been in touch with the prosecuting attorney who will review the case and determine if any criminal charges will be filed.

(WSAZ - Dec 5, 2016)


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