Dog owner charged after pit bull bites boy's groin

VIDEO: Handling of dangerous dogs

Elton Crocker, a 5-year-old, was playing with other children at a Father's Day barbecue in Auburn when a tan and white dog suddenly bit him in the crotch.

His father told KIRO 7, the boy "was in a lot of pain."

"I thought the dog just brushed him, so I took a peek" Vincent Crocker said.  "I looked down there and saw a hole."

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According to documents filed in King County Superior Court, the boy "required emergency surgery after being bit in the groin" by a 6-year old pit bull terrier named Duke.

Doctors at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma "had to repair his scrotum," according to Traci Crocker, Elton's mother.

The now 6-year-old Elton is recovering, but it's still not known whether he will suffer any long-term effects because of the bite wounds, according to the boy's parents.

Earlier this week, a single felony count of Possession of a Dangerous Dog were filed against the dog's owner --- 27-year-old Joseph Satterwhite and his father, Cliff Satterwhite --- because the attack happened in the fenced backyard of the older man's Auburn home.

When reached by phone on Wednesday, Joe Satterwhite told KIRO 7 he did know any criminal charges had been filed.  The younger Satterwhite confirmed that Duke is still living with him, at his Renton home.

"That makes me very upset," Traci Crocker said in response.  "This happened in June, on Father's Day.  And the dog is still with the owner.  It infuriates me, really."

KIRO 7 has learned Duke has a documented history of violence towards children.

In 2015, the dog "was placed under a vicious confinement order after growling and showing vicious propensities toward children while running at large," according to court documents.

The 2015 order is why Vincent Crocker believes Satterwhite and his father should have kept Duke away from children.  "It's a vicious animal and you've got it around kids," he said.  "That isn't right."

After the 2015 complaint filed by a neighbor --- claiming Duke was "a loose pitbull known to be aggressive" -- Joe Satterwhite was fined $225 for public threat, running at large and because Duke was unlicensed.

Satterwhite told KIRO 7 that he has since complied with all restrictions and fines imposed by King County Animal Control.

However, the agency's Lead Animal Control Sergeant, Tim Anderson said --- not only has Satterwhite not paid the 2015 fines, he has also not paid the $550 in fines imposed after the June attack on Elton Crocker; $500 for a vicious animal offense and $50 because Duke did not have a rabies vaccination.

Traci Crocker believes Animal Control "should have done something" before her son was bitten by Duke.  "It shouldn't take an attack on a human or a child," she said.

However, according to Sergeant Anderson  -- under current state law -- King County Animal Control has no authority to take Duke out of Satterwhite's home.  He said the county is currently researching ways it can become more "restrictive" when it comes to "dangerous dogs."

Some of the options being explored include giving Animal Control the authority to not only seize dangerous dogs from an owner's home but also possibly euthanize them if necessary, which is also not currently allowed, according to Anderson.

He said the proposed changes are expected to be ready for King County Council Members to review early next year.

Meanwhile, Dan Katzer, a spokesman with the King County Prosecutor's Office told KIRO 7 -- if convicted of Possession of a Dangerous Dog charges -- Joseph and Cliff Satterwhite could face up to a year in jail.

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