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Ten-year-old survives pit bull attack
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Case Hall is one resilient kid. If he were a cat, he would be down a couple of lives, but would be enjoying the lives he has left to the fullest.

Three years ago, he survived a terrible car accident that took the life of his sister and father.

And last Wednesday, the 10-year-old was attacked by a pit bull, leaving him with lacerations on his face, arms, hands, chest, injuries to his mouth, and broken bones that required surgery, according to his stepfather, Steve Bushell.

"He's taking it in stride," said Bushell. "He's shook up, but he's doing the best he can."

Though he was bandaged, stitched, and pined up, Case was still in good spirits, said Bushell.

In fact, before he underwent surgery last week, he asked doctors if he'd be ready to do go-carting by Saturday. He was supposed to make his go-cart racing debut this past weekend, said his stepfather.

The dog, a 3-year-old un-neutered male pit bull named Smoke, belonged to a neighbor, Corey Stringer, 32, who lives in the same cul-de-sac as Case's family. Stringer, who also owned an un-spayed female pit bull, was not home at the time of the incident and was charged with a reckless conduct misdemeanor by the Newton County Sheriff's Office. He was also issued a citation and a fine by the Newton County Animal Control.

Case had been walking home with other kids after school from the school bus stop on Feb. 27 around 3 p.m. As they came down the street, they saw the dog, sitting by the side of the road.

According to reports, the dog attacked Case. The girls he had been walking with were part of the family that owned Smoke and they tried to pull the dog off Case, giving him a chance to get away.

But the 50 pound dog was no match for the elementary school-aged girls, and the dog got away from them and attacked Case a second time.

The pit bull was pulled off Case again and he fled a little further down the road toward his house before he was attacked again. This time he was knocked to the ground.

Two adult neighbors who saw what happened had rushed to the scene and pulled the dog off Case the third time, and he was able to make it to his front porch and rang the door bell.

Bushell said there had been a trail of blood down the street to their house.

Case's older brother, Ryan Laurin, 19, who had also survived the car accident, was home at the time. He quickly let Case in and called 911.

Bushell said Laurin handled the situation well. "He did a good job. We're proud of him for what he did," said Bushell.

Case was taken to Newton Medical Center and had 25 to 30 stitches in five to 10 places. He had surgery to place pins for his fracture, and recently had the stitches in his face taken out. The dog bites had also "rearranged" two of Case's teeth, said Bushell, but he is able to eat with one side of his mouth, and the family will be running between dentist and doctor's visits for the next couple weeks.

 He was released Sunday from the hospital, where Bushell and Case's mother, Nancy Hall, had been staying with him around the clock.

The Rocky Plains Elementary School fifth grader had a steady stream of visitors after his surgery.

"The school teachers stopped by to see him on Friday night," said Bushell. One of Case's wounds was a clearly marked paw print, and his school's mascot is the cougars. "He's said, 'look, I got school spirit. I've got the paw print.'"

The owner of the pit bull also came to visit at the hospital, said Bushell.

The pit bull, which was taken and placed under quarantine by Newton County Animal Control to make sure it did not have rabies and will be put down at the end of the quarantine, according to Director Terry Key-Hooson.

The dog had bitten a 15-year-old a couple years ago, she said, but the bite hadn't been considered aggressive and the dog had only been quarantined at home. The female pit bull Stringer owned was given up to the NCAC and put down.

Key-Hooson said the NCAC sees on average one case a month of a dog biting a child. She said they see all kinds of breeds that bite children but that pit bulls have a tremendous amount of power in their jaws.

Bushell said Case was not particularly afraid of dogs, even after the incident, because they owned two Chihuahuas and an English setter. But this incident solidified Bushell's opinion about pit bulls.

"After the Michael Vick thing, it was 'why breed them?" he said. "Why have a vicious dog like that with two little girls living there?"

Hall said she was ready to have the "black cloud" of bad luck that had struck the family go away.