Children, mother mauled by neighbor's pit bull in Toms River

Two children and their mother were attacked by their neighbor's pit bull after it escaped from its home in Toms River.

The attack happened on the family's property last week as the children were headed to school. A 4-year-old was pinned to the ground and needed 35 stiches. Both children had to be hospitalized.

"The dog bites missed one of the child's carotid arteries by about 1 inch," says Toms River Assistant Township Attorney Anthony Merlino. "The wounds were all over the face and neck."

His mother couldn't pry the dog off her boys and was bitten in the arm. A neighbor who heard the screams was able to get the pit bull to let go by striking it multiple times with a hammer.

"It had not been neutered, making it doubly aggressive. Again, the attack was not provoked as it is with many of these cases with pit bulls," Merlino says.

Angelique Andersen, the pit bull's owner, voluntarily surrendered the dog to animal control and agreed to have him euthanized. Andersen says she had raised the 3-year-old dog since he was a puppy and never had any incidents with him before.

"I would never have expected it a day in my life. I never would have imagined it, I wouldn't," Andersen says.

The owner says that the family moved in a day before the attack. She says that her grandmother let the dog out of the house, but forgot that the new home did not have a fence.

The mother of the children who were attacked has hired an attorney to represent them. The children have been let out of the hospital.

Authorities did not immediately say if any charges will be filed against the dog's owners.

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