A New York family is mourning the death of a little girl who was attacked by a pit bull over the weekend as police decide whether to bring criminal charges against the dog’s owner, the New York Post reports.
“Amiyah Kayla was a phenomenal little girl who has touched many lives with her presence, smiles and laughs. We thank you for all your support and prayers,” Brian Willis, Amiyah’s mom’s fiance, who helped raise Amiyah, told reporters. “Just, please, let us mourn our terrible, tragic loss.”
Amiyah was visiting her biological father, Tramel Dunston, when she was attacked by the dog, named Kane, around 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Willis said.
Amiyah had been playing with two other children in the backyard when the pit bull charged at her and refused to let her go despite the intervention of several neighbors.
“He was holding her somewhere on the side—I don’t know if it was the ears or the neck—and he was throwing her around like a rag doll,” one neighbor told the Post. “The two [other] little girls ran down the street, screaming, ‘Help! Help! Help!’ I tried to take my broom and push the dog off through the fence. And the doctor up the block was trying to help, too. He threw a garbage can at the dog, but he wouldn’t let her go.’’
When the cops arrived, the dog turned toward them, and one of the officers shot and killed it.
Amiyah was rushed to a hospital but could not be saved.
“It was a violent attack,” Nassau County Police Detective Michael Bitsko said at a press conference Sunday afternoon. “We don’t know why the pit bull attacked her.”
The dog’s owner, Carlyle Arnold, 29, was arrested at the scene on an unrelated charge, police said. According to the Post, he had two open cases in Nassau County for child endangerment and criminal possession of stolen property. He was arraigned Monday morning on a criminal-contempt charge for allegedly violating a protection order involving his girlfriend. His bail was set at $10,000, the Post reports.
The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and police are currently deciding whether to bring charges against Arnold in relation to the dog attack.
Arnold’s uncle, Anthony Jett, said that while Kane was a tough dog, he was “good.”
“He was a good dog—that’s what I don’t understand,” Jett said. “He was a beast because he was a pit, but he was very gentle.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family, seeking donations for the funeral and grief counseling for the family. As of Tuesday at 12:40 p.m., more than $22,000—well exceeding the family’s $15,000 goal—had been raised.
Read more at the New York Post.