Pit Bull Owners Heading To Trial

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

"She's talking. She remembers everything. She's having nightmares," says Charlie Norris. Recovery is slow and painful for his niece, six-year-old Tyah Norris. After being mauled by three young pit bulls, her uncle says every day is a struggle.

"It's stressful," he says. "We don't know how bad she's scarred, or how bad her head is messed up."

The owners of those pit bulls, Brian Nace and Jasmine Bailey, are facing felony charges from the August 24th attack in Blackman Township. In their joint preliminary hearing Wednesday, first responders recall the horrific scene.

"I asked her her name and how she was doing. She said, 'I'm doing fine, I'm doing fine.' She kept repeating that," testifies Blackman Township Public Safety Officer Randall Hengesbaugh.

But the little girl was far from fine. In fact, her scalp had been ripped off by the dogs in what an animal control officer calls a tug of war between the three pit bulls. Weeks later, she's still in the hospital.

"She had facial reconstruction, she had to have her tear ducts replaced, her eyelids had to be put back together," says Charlie Norris on the stand.

According to court testimony, Bailey was home during the attack; Nace was not. It all happened at the home the defendants shared with Nace's family, and Bailey tried pulling the dogs off Tyah, who had been there visiting with a friend. But Nace's attorney says he'd taken precautions to protect people from his dogs.

"Mr. Nace feels absolutely horrible about everything that's happened. He's very troubled by the whole situation," says attorney Christopher Dickerson.

The Jackson County Prosecutor is pleased this case is heading to trial.

"We think the evidence speaks for itself and we'll leave it up to 12 people," Henry Zavislak says.

But the family says the damage is already done.

Nace's family declined comment for this story.

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  • by Anonymous on Sep 10, 2010 at 05:56 AM
    It is good that the owner is being prosecuted. People like gives the breed a bad name.
  • by Tom Location: Holt on Sep 10, 2010 at 05:24 AM
    The only good pit bull is a dead pit bull. The DNR should have a hunting season for them.
  • by TY Location: Lansing on Sep 9, 2010 at 08:42 AM
    I'm wondering what's going to happen with the dogs? I think it's one thing for a person to get attacked by a dog if they, for example, jump a fence where a dog is otherwise safely contained or break into someone's home, but this doesn't sound like that type of scenario. It sounds as if these animals formed a pack and attacked a prey target and are exceedingly dangerous.
  • by Martin Location: Jackson on Sep 8, 2010 at 03:06 PM
    OK, my question is: Do the parents of the girl want charges pressed? Or does the prosecutor see an example to be made and is hell bent on making things worse for this family? It is my understanding that everyone involved is family.
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