Neighbors want aggressive dogs gone after child, 2 others violently attacked

Published: Jul. 5, 2017 at 5:26 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2017 at 2:16 PM EDT
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Bloody handprint on front porch after dog attack. (Source: WOIO)
Bloody handprint on front porch after dog attack. (Source: WOIO)


A 6-year-old girl is in critical condition after a pit bull snapped on the Fourth of July.

Now, neighbors say they want all of the aggressive dogs out of the neighborhood, before someone else gets hurt.

According to a Cleveland Police report, a little girl named Anastasia and her mother, Dawn Highsmith, 32, were inside a home in the 3900 block of W.22nd Street around 7:45 p.m. when something fell onto the floor, spooking the dog.

According to a police report obtained by Cleveland 19 News, the brown and white pit bull latched onto Anastasia's face dragging her around the living room before turning onto her mother and Melissa Highsmith.  A male resident at the home, Cuyahoga County Correction's Officer Michael Shaw Jr., was off duty and able to grab his weapon. Shaw threw a chair at his dog and was able to separate the dog before getting Dawn Highsmith, Anastasia, Melissa Highsmith and Shaw's son out of the house. Shaw shot the dog which he owned four times.

Highsmith held towels over her Anastasia's body while neighbors helped out according to the police report. Shaw assisted Melissa Highsmith while waiting for Cleveland Police, EMS and Animal Control to arrive. Both Highsmiths and Anastasia were bitten. All three victims were transported to MetroHealth Medical Center. Anastasia was last listed in critical condition and will need surgery.

Once Cleveland's Division of Animal Control arrived they took both, the attacking dog and a second dog, from the home. The conditions and status' of both dogs are unknown. Calls to Cleveland Division of Animal Control's Chief Animal Control Officer Ed Jamison were not returned Wednesday afternoon.

The neighborhood was somber Wednesday afternoon. Two neighbors spoke about the aggressive dog problem on their street, saying there are at least half a dozen pit bulls on the block and they all seem aggressive. Lee Covert has lived on W. 22nd Street his entire life and can't understand the need for aggressive dogs in the neighborhood. According to Covert, the same dog that attacked on July 4 had recently gotten loose and police were called because a neighbor couldn't get into her car.

Another neighbor who goes by John, is an ex-mail carrier. John, who witnessed the attack from his window, says he walks thirty minutes every day and the dogs on the block are constantly barking at him aggressively. The dogs have gotten so bad in the area, he carries mace on his belt while outside.  Both neighbors say it could have been their grandchildren, and say something must change.

** The original report has been updated to correct police incident report discrepancies**

To learn more about dogs that pose a threat to public safety, click here.

Click here to find the animal complaint form to report a nuisance dog in your neighborhood.

More on Cleveland 19

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Police: Off-duty officer shoots dog after it attacks 2 people

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