Two pit bulls attacked a playground in Missouri this week, leaving nearly two dozen people injured.
The attack happened Tuesday at Willard Intermediate South school in Springfield, Missouri, which serves students that are in grades 5 and 6.
In total, 18 students and three teachers were injured, including six that required emergency medical services due to the severity of their injuries. Newsweek reported that some of the injuries happened during the chaotic moments when people were running into the school to get away from the vicious dogs.
The Springfield News-Leader reported that the dogs ran onto the playground during afternoon recess and that animal control was on scene “within 10 minutes.” The animal control officers quickly located the owner, who willingly turned over the dogs to be euthanized.
“There was an incident during recess in which neighborhood dogs got onto the playground and injured several students and teachers,” Heather Harman-Michael, director of communications and public relations for Willard School District, said in a statement. “Parents of students who were affected were contacted and ambulances were on site to assess and treat any injuries.”
Harman-Michael said that there were “a lot of students who saw” the attack happen because everyone was outside for recess.
“We had district administration and we had nurses and counselors from other buildings come to Intermediate South to be of assistance,” she added.
Statistics show that millions of people are bitten by dogs every year in the U.S., with roughly half of the victims being children.
Pit bulls are by far the dog that is the most responsible for attacking people. Over the last 10 years that dog bite statistics have been available, there have been 430 fatal dog bites in the U.S., pit bulls were responsible for 185 deaths while pit bull mixes were responsible for 41 deaths. Combined, those 226 fatalities represent 52.5% of all fatal dog bites in the U.S.
“When any situation occurs, we come together to discuss what happened, what we could have done differently, and what we can do in the future to prevent similar occurrences from happening. Those are the conversations we will be having in the days and weeks ahead,” Harman-Michael added. “We are encouraging our neighbors to be cognizant of keeping their animals contained near all of our campuses as we continue to encourage outdoor play. We want to thank the Intermediate South staff who responded quickly to the situation, and other district staff who were on site quickly to provide assistance.”