Union Co. child attacked by dog, family seeks action

Family of a 7-year old in Union County is looking for change after their son was attacked by a pit bull.

Malachi Smith was attacked in late 2014 by his neighbor's pit bull. His face is scarred and the family is not only seeking damages from the dog's owner and the property owner-- but change from Animal Services.

"Folks need to be responsible for their animals," the family's attorney William Goldfarb said. "In this particular case the owner did not maintain control of the dog and it had terrible, terrible consequences for the child."

Union County, currently, does not have any leash laws. Animals are mostly free to roam the rural area.

Commissioner Richard Helms said he does not want to see laws changed because many dogs in Union County are used for security and hunting. He said leash laws would punish the owners that raise their pets properly.

"Children are being bit and killed every day because we have to wait until the dog attacks and then we do something about it," Smith's grandmother Ernestine Staton said.

All of this is coming while the Town of Pineville, next door to Union County in Mecklenburg County, is beefing up its animal ordinances. Aside from leash laws, its looking at not allowing dogs to be chained or tethered in front or side yards.