VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - A Cook County family says they no longer feel safe at their home after their landlord's dog viciously attacked one of their children on Tuesday.
The parents of Hayden Stilwell, 8, are now asking for their landlord to put the dog to sleep or they will have to relocate for the safety of their children.
"My 1-year-old was standing right next to my 8-year-old, and if he would've bit my 1-year-old, then he wouldn't have survived," said Hayden's mother Rachel Stilwell.
A flood of emotions overtook Rachel as she recalled the moments leading up to when her son Hayden was attacked by a German Shepherd.
"I heard this high pitch squeal and I opened the door and he was on top of my child," explained Rachel.
Rachel said that she, her 1-year-old and Hayden were all outside together, building a snowman, when she decided to take her younger son inside.
Moments after stepping into the house, she said she heard Hayden scream.
"I ran down the stairs as fast as I could, you know the snow is slippery so I fell a couple of times, I got over there and the dog was literally on top of him and would not let him go," Rachel explained.
That's when Rachel said her motherly instincts kicked in.
Rachel said that she rushed to the dog and picked it up and it turned and tried to bite her. She said she grabbed its mouth and with all her might, threw him off.
"Everything in me was just saying, 'Get my baby,'" said Rachel.
Hayden now has 10 stitches and nine staples. He said that he no longer wants to go outside because he's afraid of what may happen.
"I don't want to get hurt again," said Hayden.
Hayden's dad, Joshwall Stilwell said if his landlord refuses to get rid of the dog or put it down, they will be forced to move.
"We're going to have to break our lease just to feel safe because I'd rather live in a cardboard box and feel safe than live in a home where we're scared to walk outside. All of my children are scared to walk outside," explained Josh.
WALB reached out to the owner who has not responded at this time.
Cook County Sheriff's office said they are making sure the dog is secured and up to date on all of its shots.
Georgia law states that a dog may be classified as vicious if the dog inflicts a serious injury on a person.
The owner will receive notice, go through an appeal process, then a decision will be made after the proceedings.