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Baby mauled by pitbull recovering

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, April 04, 2011    

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NAMPRIEL ROAD, Westmoreland — Eight-month-old Oshawn Obermann Jnr is recovering at the Bustamante Hospital for Children where he underwent major surgery for severe head injuries he sustained at his home here on March 23 when he was brutally attacked and mauled by a pitbull, owned by his parents.

According to Oshawn Obermann Snr, the toddler's distraught father who was in the US at the time of the attack, the ruthless animal rushed inside the house where the baby was on the floor about three feet from his mother and two other persons who were watching television.

The dog is said to have gripped the left leg of the infant in its powerful jaws as the toddler crept towards the settee where his mother was sitting.

The dog dragged the baby along the rough concrete steps leading from the house, causing a portion of his scalp to be ripped off.

The traumatised infant is being treated for major lacerations to the scalp, his right eye and face, his left leg, a compound fracture of the skull, among other injuries.

This attack came a day after a three-year-old child was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs in Kingston.

Obermann Snr — a Caucasian residing in Kansas City, USA, but who was working in Omaha, Nebraska — praised the heroics of Daney Hughes, also called Fire, saying if it were not for him the infant, his mother and two other persons in the house at the time of the canine onslaught might have been killed.

"I give thanks to Fire for saving my baby's life. It is a devil dog," Obermann told the Observer.

According to Hughes, he was using a jack-hammer to drill rocks under a section of the house where Sonia Samuels, the common-law wife of Obermann Snr, lives with their infant son. The dreadlocked man said he heard an uproar coming from the floor overhead, which overpowered the sound of the jack-hammer.

Initially, he believed that the source of the noise was the occupants enjoying a movie. But he decided to investigate when he heard desperate screams for help.

He arrived in time to see the dog descending the steps, the baby in its mouth.

The gallant Hughes reportedly used a metal spade that was nearby to pound the dog in its head until it dropped the child who was retrieved by his horrified mother.

But the raging animal continued to pursue the injured toddler, forcing Hughes to again hit it with the shovel until it retreated.

"The dog rushed back into the house but this time him stand on him two back feet like a man. I had to beat him to control him and get him to cool out," Hughes declared.

The dog. however, was not subdued for long and was eventually set upon, chased and beaten to death by people who had converged on the premises.

"Is the toughest dog me ever see. After he was beaten with sledge hammer and spade in him head him come een like him can't dead. Like him head a iron," a resident told the Observer.

The year-old male pitbull, which was reportedly acquired by the baby's parents about a month before the attack, was said to have escaped from its kennel as it was being fed by Samuels' brother.

The child was rushed to the Savanna-la-Mar Public Hospital, shortly after which he was airlifted to the Bustamante Hospital in Kingston.

On Friday, the father of the injured child expressed his gratitude to the Jamaican Government and the Bustamante Hospital for their assistance but lamented what he described as the shortage of equipment at the hospital and appealed for international assistance on behalf of the facility.

"The Children's Hospital is doing the best that they can with their limited resources. They lack the proper resources to provide the best care for my son, but they are doing the best that they can," he stated.

"I am appealing to members of our global village to send equipment and supplies to assist the Jamaican children at Bustamante Children's Hospital, similar to efforts by persons such as Shaggy and Friends. For lack of resources the children are needlessly suffering through no fault of the wonderful staff here," said Obermann Snr.

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