The ambient sound of children at play at Wiltondale Greenwood Park in Baltimore County shattered in a fraction of a second.
"It happened in under half a second,” said Colleen Mercier who was arriving at the park with her son and one of his friends, “It just happened so quickly, but in my mind, I can clearly see the dog jumping up and making face-to-face contact with my son, and as quick as that happened, my son was on the ground."
Seven-year-old Andrew Mercier never saw it coming and now bears the scars of a large gash in his face, which required 15 stitches.
A large mixed-breed PIT BULL.
"The dog was on a leash, but apparently broke free of the owner," said Patricia Anderson as she supervised her young daughter at the park.
The county impounded the animal and this week it issued a $1,000 citation to the owner after designating the dog as a dangerous animal, but the attack has shaken the community.
"The dog attacked him in the face, which is really scary, because had it been closer to his eye, closer to his neck... I can't... literally... I can't go there," said Anderson.
In addition to the physical injury, the unprovoked attack has also proven to be a mental challenge for the second grader.
"It was very emotional,” said his mother, “Andrew, being seven, had a lot of questions at first. Why would a dog do this to me? Why did this happen to me?"
It has also taken its toll on Andrew's parents.
While pit bull owners are quick to defend the breed, pointing out that all dogs are capable of biting people, the Merciers have become quick studies on the damage this breed can inflict.
"Pit bulls do have a much higher rate of attacking the face, attacking the neck,” said his mother, “Their numbers are so much higher than other dogs, we have started looking into... there should be special laws for these type of dogs, in particular, the pit bull... the pit bull mix, because of these high numbers."
It will now be up to an animal hearing board to determine the fate of the dog, which attacked Andrew, and for his part, the young boy is being held out of physical activities at school while he continues to mend from his wounds.