Springfield boy in the hospital after apparent dog attack

Western Mass News Exclusive
Western Mass News spoke with Derek, who is still at Baystate Medical Center undergoing reconstructive surgery on his lips and back.
Published: May. 2, 2022 at 7:10 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - A 9-year-old Springfield boy is in the hospital after being attacked by a dog. His family said it happened while he was outside playing with friends over the weekend.

Western Mass News spoke with Derek, who is still at Baystate Medical Center undergoing reconstructive surgery on his lips and back. He and his family told us that in spite of this incident, he has maintained a positive attitude and hopes to return home soon.

We want to warn you that some of the images and details in this story may be disturbing.

“I’m scared to go to my house because I don’t know if the dog might come up to me and bite me again, or if he gets free and bites somebody else,” said nine-year-old Derek Russell, Jr.

Derek spoke to Western Mass News from his hospital bed on Monday, telling us what happened to him on Saturday. He said he was playing with his friends at a park down the street from his Springfield home when he said one of his friend’s pit bulls attacked him.

“When I went to him, he was completely bloody,” his mother, Nakeah Norwood, recalled. “He had his hand over his face, and when he moved his hand, that’s when I seen his lip split apart.”

Derek is still at Baystate Medical Center with his mother and grandmother at his bedside while he undergoes reconstructive surgeries on his face and back.

“It hurts,” his mother said. “He texted me and said, ‘Mom, my birthday is in 27 days and I have to look like this?’”

Norwood said it has been difficult to see her son like this.

“He’s been through a lot,” she told us. “He lost his dad, and now, he has to be afraid of dogs because the dog viciously attacked him.”

However, Derek told Western Mass News that despite his injuries, his spirits are still high.

“I’m in pain, but I’m good,” he said.

We checked with Springfield Police Department spokesperson Ryan Walsh who confirmed a police report was filed and that animal control is involved.

When we reached out to Springfield Animal Control, we were told the dog is currently up to date on rabies vaccines, and they have no previous incidents with the dog on record.

Now, the family wants more done.

“The dog should either go to a pit bull resort,” Norwood said. “Whatever they do with the pit bull, sanctuary, or put him to sleep. One or the other, but he can’t stay in Springfield.”

We spoke to the owner of the dog, and although our request for an on-camera interview was declined, we were told the dog is still at home with them.

Derek’s family could proceed with a dangerous dog hearing with the city of Springfield, which would be held before a special hearing committee.