Dog owner jailed after pit bulls attack 6 year-old girl

Published: Jun. 6, 2014 at 1:32 AM EDT
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Six-year-old Zainabou Drame, provided photo.
Six-year-old Zainabou Drame, provided photo.
Zontae Irby from Hamilton County.
Zontae Irby from Hamilton County.

WESTWOOD, OH (FOX19) - A young girl was hospitalized Wednesday night after being severely attacked by two dogs in Westwood, and the dog owner is now in police custody.

The victim, six-year-old Zainabou Drame, is listed in critical but stable condition at Children's Hospital. She was outside playing in her Westwood neighborhood with her brother, only a few houses down the street from where she lives, when two pit bulls attacked.

"They knocked her down then the dogs started chewing on her face and blood started coming everywhere. They ripped her jaw off," said nine-year-old Moustapha Drame, the victim's brother who witnessed the attack.

Responding officers arrived at the scene in the 2900 block of Aquadale Lane when the dogs were still actively attacking the child on the sidewalk. Police said four officers distracted the dogs and then fired shots, killing both of them. A third dog, not involved in the attack, is now in the custody of the SPCA.

Zainabou Drame's grandfather credits the mother with saving her life. He said she used a baseball bat to fight the dogs off her daughter.

24-year-old Zontae Irby owns the dogs and was arrested early Thursday morning. Police searched Irby's home and charged him with weapons under disability, drug abuse and drug trafficking. Charges are pending in relation to the dog attack, Cincinnati Police say.

Operations Director of the Cincinnati SPCA Mike Retzlaff, said pit bull owners have a responsibility to keep their animals under control.

"The people that are owning them in these cases don't take the proper time with them, training them, just making them good citizens and therefore they're going to be in the headlines," said Retzlaff.

Zainabou Drame's family told FOX19's Gordon Graham that the girl suffered such severe injuries to her mouth and face that she may never be able to talk normally again. She underwent surgery last night, what her family said will be the first of many operations and a long road to recovery.

This wasn't the first visit police have made to Irby's home on Aquadale Lane. His brother is Dierres Lee, the man who admitted to killing a La Salle High School student last year during a drug deal gone wrong.

Related: Two dogs attack girl in Westwood

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