Steelers' linebacker James Harrison's toddler son was injured yesterday evening when the family's dog became agitated and bit him. The boy, James Harrison III, was taken to Children's Hospital, where a friend of the family said he is in stable condition.
The boy's mother, Beth Tibbott, was also bitten when she intervened in the attack around 6 p.m. at the family's home in Franklin Park. The friend, who asked that her name not be used, said Ms. Tibbott has been released from UPMC Presbyterian Hospital.
Mr. Harrison, 31, the NFL defensive player of the year last season, could not be reached for comment. He was apparently notified of the attack yesterday and went home on a motorcycle, a neighbor said.
At the Harrisons' home on Matterhorn Drive, the family friend said that Mr. Harrison was at the gym in the late afternoon when she, Ms. Tibbott and the baby were outside in the yard, which is fenced.
"The baby wanted to see the dog," she said. "She [Ms. Tibbott] went to the cage and cleaned the dog's eyes. He was near the entrance of the cage and wanted to come out, and I told her, and she said the dog is fine with the baby.
"Then the baby started to cry and act like a baby, and the dog got on top of him."
She said the dog bit the baby at the top of the thigh and that Ms. Tibbott began screaming and threw herself on top of the baby.
"She said, 'Take the baby, take the baby,' so I picked up the baby and ran and put him on the other side of the fence and called 911."
Children's Hospital spokesmen said the family did not want them to release information about the child.
Another neighbor, who also did not want to be identified, said a Franklin Park police officer knocked on her door around 6 p.m.
"The officer was warning us to keep our children inside because [Mr. Harrison's] dog had bit somebody. He said to keep everybody inside until it was resolved."
Triangle Animal Control Inc. went to the house. A person answering the phone there said the employee who had taken the dog away was not available and that no one else had knowledge of the case.
The Steelers issued this statement this afternoon: "We are aware of this unfortunate situation. We express our concern for his family and hope that everyone involved makes a complete recovery."
Lillian Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-3566. Diana Nelson Jones can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1626.