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Leonard Lovejoy, 11 Months, Attacked and Killed by Pit Bull Near Detroit

An infant died on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 after being attacked by the family dog near Detroit.

According to authorities, Leonard Lovejoy Jr., 11 months, was playing on a bed at a residence in the Eastpointe area. That's when the animal, a pit bull terrier, approached.

For unknown reasons, the dog attacked Leonard, reportedly clamping down on the boy's head. He was rushed to St. John Hospital, but doctors were unable to save him.

Once Leonard was freed from the clutches of the pit bull, his father shot and killed the dog. He used a 45-caliber handgun, for which he has a concealed weapons permit.

Family and friends have established a memorial fund to offset funeral and burial expenses. Donors can contribute at any Chase bank branch, under the name of Leonard Lovejoy Jr.

Dog bites are not uncommon and children are especially vulnerable targets. According to the American Humane Association, children 12 and under represent 50 percent of victims.

Pit bull defenders claim the breed is not inherently aggressive, but the dogs are renowned for their incredible strength, especially in the jaws and neck. When pit bulls attack, they often sieze their target by the head or neck. 

The animals can then shake or drag a victim. The American Humane Association reports that 65 percent of child victims are bit on the head or neck.

Pet owners have a responsibility to keep their animals under control at all times. When outside the home, dogs must be contained by fenced-in yards or on leashes or muzzles to protect others.

Meanwhile, parents can never be to cautious when it comes to the safety of their children. Never leave a child unattended with a dog, especially one that is new or unfamiliar.

Children 10 and under represent 70 percent of fatal dog attacks, according to the American Humane Association. When faced with a large and powerful animal, such as a pit bull, children are often too small and weak to protect themselves.

The death of Leonard Lovejoy Jr. was a senseless tragedy. By exercising caution, parents and dog owners can help prevent similarly devastating attacks.

When a dog bite does occur, seek medical attention immediately. If negligence was a factor, the next step is to contact a lawyer with experience in such caes.


If you or a loved one has been injured in an animal attack, contact the Michigan dog accident attorneys at Keller & Keller. We can provide you with a free consultation and inform you of your options.

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Dog Bite Checklist

What to Do if You're Attacked

  • Seek immediate medical attention
  • Take photographs of the wounds
  • Call 911 or animal control to report the incident
  • Take photographs of the dog (if it's safe to do so)
  • Gather information about the dog owner (name, address, phone number, insurance info)
  • Contact an experienced dog bite attorney