Beaufort News

Pit-bull owner arrested; attack victim improving

Port Royal police have arrested the alleged owner of the pit bull that attacked and seriously injured a 3-year-old girl Thursday while she and her baby-sitter were out for a walk.

Kevin Ramsey, 26, of Burton arranged to turn himself in to authorities Friday at the McDonald's restaurant on Parris Island Gateway after a warrant was issued for his arrest, said Staff Sgt. Andre Massey, police spokesman. Ramsey was charged with owning a dangerous animal that attacked or injured a human.

"There is a law that specifically deals with what happened, and we have to enforce it," Massey said. "We can't just sit back and let something like this happen."

The charge, the owner's first such offense, is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of $5,000 and up to three years in jail, according to state law.

If convicted, the owner would have to pay the victim's hospital bills, the law says.

Ramsey was in the Beaufort County Detention Center on Friday awaiting a bond hearing, according to the county's jail log.

Port Royal police say the little girl -- identified by officials Friday as Daniella Ramirez -- and her baby-sitter were walking down Wayside Lane on Thursday when a 60- to 65-pound brindle-colored pit bull emerged from a nearby dirt road and attacked the child.

The dog, which had twice been caught by county Animal Control officers running free in the neighborhood, was shot and killed by police.

Ramirez was taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital with severe injuries, according to authorities.

She was upgraded from stable to good condition Friday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The girl's parents declined interview requests through Corey Fleming, a Beaufort attorney representing the family.

"The family would ask for privacy while they focus on their daughter's healing process and recovery," Fleming said.

Officials with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control picked up the dog's body Thursday to test it for rabies, but those results had not returned Friday, said Adam Myrick, a DHEC spokesman.