PANAMA CITY BEACH — The man with a 4-year-old who was attacked by a dog last week allegedly didn’t tell law enforcement the whole story and has been arrested, police reported.
Benjamin “Max” Brown has been charged with perjury and child neglect, according to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office. Police say he lied, withheld information that would have helped them find the dog and failed to call 911 and bring the child, Avery Farmer, directly to a hospital.
When Avery was bitten on Thursday, Brown told police a “stray black pit bull” had randomly attacked the child from behind on Allison Avenue in Panama City Beach. Avery spent the weekend in the hospital to treat cuts on his face and arms. Based on Brown’s information officials looked around Allison Avenue for the dog.
However, on Monday, Avery was released from the hospital and he reportedly told his father, Cody Farmer, it wasn't a stray dog that bit him. Avery told his dad he had been "playing with puppies" when attacked, according to a BCSO press release.
That led police to question Brown a second time.
“After speaking again with Brown, investigators now believe he picked the child up from his father on May 26 as Brown originally stated,” A BCSO press release said. “However, instead of going to a garage sale, they believe Brown went to visit a friend on Allison Avenue. The friend owns several large dogs and one had a litter of puppies. The child was playing with the puppies when the mother dog attacked the child."
In addition, police learned that after Avery was bit, Brown allegedly drove to Southport, passing a hospital along the way, to bring the child to his mother first.
Animal control has now been notified of the location of the dog, according to the release. Avery’s father said the dog should be put down.
“I’m an animal lover, but it’s a 4-year-old kid,” Farmer said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that when they find it I will demand it be put down.”
Because it took days to locate the dog, Avery has started a series of rabies shots. He will need to get three more shots over the next few weeks, according to Farmer.
For the most part, Avery seems back to his old self, Farmer said.
“He’s okay. He’s been playing,” Farmer said. “I’m watching him carefully.”