(WBTV) - Zachary Gendron says he is in pain, but doing better after a PIT BULL nearly took his ear off on Saturday.
"It's all right," he said.
He was playing in a friend's backyard in Taylorsville when one of that family's pit bulls came out of the house.
"He pushed the door open," said Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman.
The dog went right to where the kids were playing and then jumped up and bit 9-year-old Zachary's right ear. He screamed and ran two doors down to his own home. His mother Crystal did not know what had happened at first.
"He came running and yelling, 'help me, mommy help me!'" the mother said.
More than two dozen stitches were needed to reattach his ear. Zachary can hear out of it, but recovery from the wound will take some time.
The Sheriff's office and Animal Control officers are investigating. The dog's owner, who did not want to be identified, said the back door's latch was broken and that's how the pit bull was able to push it open. She said she immediately went after it but could not catch the dog until it was too late.
Alexander County does not have a leash law and, because the incident happened within the property of the dog's owner, officials said chances are that no criminal charges will result.
There is another issue with the dog, though, according to Animal Control Director Jennifer Sigmon.
"The vaccines were not up to date," Sigmon said.
That means there is a chance Zachary will have to undergo a series of shots. The dog in question was voluntarily turned over to officials Saturday and was euthanized on Monday. Tissue samples were sent to the state lab to determine if the dog had rabies. Officials do not believe he did, but they want to be sure.
Results will be passed on immediately to Zachary's mom.
Sigmon said it is a lesson to all pet owners to be sure your animals are up to date on their vaccines. They also urge pet owners to pay close attention to the animals, especially around children.
Sheriff Chris Bowman said although he is a pet lover, he agrees that safety has to be the priority.
"We can never trust our animals as much as we like for them to be trusted."