A toddler is lucky to be alive after being brutally attacked by a dog as he played outside in his upstate New York neighborhood Thursday evening, community advocates told InsideEdition.com.
Surveillance footage of the terrifying ordeal posted to social media appears to show a group of young children playing outside a Spring Valley home when suddenly, a black dog charges at the group from across the street, grabbing a hold of a little boy and dragging him along the pavement.
The dog, which had been identified as a pit bull, appears to lose its grip on the child at one point, jumping on him again before it’s dragged away by a man, according to the video posted by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council [OJPAC].
GRAPHIC VIDEO: Pit bull attacks Orthodox Jewish toddler in Spring Valley after being out on the loose multiple times in recent weeks. pic.twitter.com/0PpkQckWsy— OJPAC Hudson Valley (@OJPACHV) April 21, 2017
The child, who is 2 years old, was left with scratches and puncture wounds across his cheek and neck, a photo posted to Twitter shows.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital and released later that night, Yossi Gestetner, co-founder of OJPAC, told InsideEdition.com.
He said the little boy needed stitches and did not attend school Friday.
“He’s very shaken; [he] and his siblings are very shaken,” Gestetner said. “The community is shaken. This was not a one-off situation.”
Gestetner said the dog had previously gotten loose and chased residents of the Rockland County neighborhood, but this was the most serious incident.
“The dog needs to be leashed and in the control of a responsible adult,” he said. “Maybe the pit bull thought it was playing with the children, but that doesn't absolve the owner... it does not absolve the police department.”
Gestetner said police removed the dog from its owner at about 10:30 p.m., more than four hours after the attack.
“They knew it was an attack, they were on the scene and it makes no sense to leave the dog,” he said. “I don’t blame the police [for the attack]. We do see a good relationship with the law enforcement and the community... [but] police have dropped the ball here.”
The Spring Valley Police Department did not immediately return a message from InsideEdition.com seeking comment.
Police Chief Paul Modica said that a girl living at the same home of as the owner of the dog went outside Thursday and the dog followed her, and then ran, The Journal News reported.
SVPD did not have much of a history of complaints involving the dog, Modica said, noting that they received a “generic report of a dog running loose” in March.
“Residents told us after the attack that this dog had been roaming around, but they didn't report it,” he said.
The dog's owner was issued summonses for allowing her dog to run loose in connection to Thursday’s incident, officials said.
The Rockland District Attorney’s Office was continuing to review the case, Modica said.
The dog was brought to the Hi-Tor animal shelter pending a decision on what to do next with it.
Officers needed to use a dog pole to get the animal under control, as it became aggressive when they first attempted to put it into a police cruiser, he said.
After learning of the incident, OJPAC was the first to post images and surveillance footage of the attack on social media, where it quickly went viral.
"Horrific," Chelsea Clinton tweeted at 11:07 p.m. Thursday. "No child should suffer this. No animal (or person) should ever be in a position to do this to anyone, certainly not a child."