A four-year-old underwent five hours of surgery after he was mutilated by a PIT BULL at Crawford Street Eco Park last week.
Doctors said Eli Stromvig is lucky to be alive, with the dog bite missing his carotid artery by just 2mm. More than 500 stitches does not guarantee the boy will keep his right ear, which was reattached after the dog tore it off during the savage attack.
Moments before he was mauled, Eli was enjoying the company of friends and family who gathered at the park for a picnic and fun day. There were 16 children between the ages of three and 14, who attended the year-end festivities.
“There were still remnants of a children’s party in progress,” said Newcastle Advertiser Editor, Reveshni Douglas, who was on the scene less than an hour after the attack. “A white table cloth swung gently in the breeze while a few multi-coloured balloons bobbed around the ground. What was missing however, was the happy sounds one would expect of a public park on a hot summer’s day, right on the cusp of the festive season. Instead, the grass around a few of the children’s park toys was drenched in blood.”
An eyewitness at the scene walked over to where Reveshni stood, taking in the horrific scene.
“Here’s the child’s ear,” he said, holding a small, bloody ear in the centre of his palm.
What she saw when she looked up was the stuff of nightmares. Eli was on his back trying to pummel the dog away with his tiny hands. The dog had pinned Eli to the ground, and was lunging at his head and face.
Eli’s sister, 10-year-old Isabella, said the dog bit Eli and then began ‘dragging him like a doll’. Cheryl’s son, Ronald ran to Eli and hit the dog with his fists to try and get the dog to stop. Eli’s 14-year-old cousin grabbed the dog by its hind legs, giving Ronald a split-second to lift Eli out of the dog’s reach.
“Uncle Ronald placed Eli on the castle, and the dog circled the castle a few times to try and get to Eli, then it ran and bit another child. Aunty Cheryl tried to get all the children into the Kombi where they could be safe and the dog even circled the Kombi looking for more children to bite,” said Isabella.
The owners of the pit bull were given the opportunity to tell their side of the story. Initially, they agreed to come in for a meeting. However, on the day of publication and allegedly after consultation with their legal team, the owners declined a formal interview. They described the incident as a devastating tragedy.