John Harvard – 5-years old – Riverside, AL (4/6/14) DBRF #15 1

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Written by Johnna Harvard (John Harvard’s mother)

John Triton Harvard

3-23-09 ~ 4-6-14

On March 23, 2009 God blessed our family with a beautiful boy who was so full of lIfe. He was our world. He has 4 other sibblings who are grieving along with his mother and father and entire family, No one can understand why this happened. The loss has hit home and has tragically made everyone aware of the dangers that are everywhere. We all think home is supposed to be safe, it’s why it’s called home. There are car accidents, cancer and so many dangers and accidents out there in this world. But dogs?…On April 6th I talked to John on the phone. He talked with Savannah and was animate on talking to his baby brother Ryker. He told us how much he missed and loved us with the sweetest voice. He said bye in the sweetest southern voice. Never dreamed it would be our last talk. His sister Savannah came to live with me at the end of February, the night before she got on the plane John got on the phone and said mommy can I come live with you too, said it was up to daddy. I was working to get custody transferred over and i promised him just a lil longer angel. He said ok mommy, I love you and he had to talk to Ryker again. The only name Ryker would say is John John.  Since 2011 and the divorce was settled I have been back and forth. Met an amazing man I didn’t go looking for who was sent from above. He allowed and was all for me visiting and helped me to see them as much as I could, even let me stay here in Alabama and give up the birth of his first son so my children could be there and know mommy wasn’t starting another life and leaving them behind. My children are my world and i was a disabled stay at home mom. My oldest is almost 15…all a-b honor roll, wasn’t enough. These days the courts are for the working mom and I did. I breast fed all my children till the age of one and would get small full time jobs, not the best, but was extra for my kids to have a little more joy and have things and then after Bradley’s 1st birthday I went back to work injuring my back and had major surgery. It didn’t stop me for caring for my children. My ex worked for the mayor and some really bad things happened on his end. I stood up to get my children free of what they were being exposed of, he had the number one lawyer and the town backing him. He could tell them I ate grass and they believed him cause I wasn’t out there in politics, being a mother is what I found to be my place in life. Had five beautiful gifts from God. Holidays were such joy in my family growing up so I always tried keeping up with making sure I sent halloween costumes, Easter, Christmas, Valentines. My children turn their backs on God because they would pray and they said every time it seemed they prayed it got worse. I was trying so hard but this world revolves around money and politics. Was getting my ssi and fiancé was getting our home loan and picked a wedding dress and we were going to go in to fight with all we had to bring them home with mommy where they wanted to be. I left California last Easter and moved to Gulf Shores with my kids and Jeremy. He had rented the home out and the kids wanted to move back to Riverside. In August we moved back and I enrolled the children in school. Took them for their first day back and a week later their father made me leave. It was getting to the six month deadline on the law of married after 6 months of living together. Ill never forget that day in September. I never imagined it would be the last time I’d see my angel John John.  For Christmas all he wanted was army and hunting stuff. I sent him full outfits, hunting tents, and to see the pictures of joy in his eyes when he opened his gifts and had to put it all on and send pictures to me was one of the greatest joys to see him happy and full of life. He wanted to be in the army when he grew up and drive big trucks. He was the sweetest child. He would go in the yard and pull up roots and all and bring me flowers every day when I was here. There wasn’t a mean bone in his body. I had been fighting since he was almost two. I had no family or no where to go in Alabama and the home I bought and put in Jeremy’s name with my injury money was given to him, so I had to return to my family in California.  They would call all the time begging me to come back cause Bradley was failing in school. My oldest was having to watch the kids why daddy would sleep and leave at night and she was trying to do homework and be mom. Every chance I got I came back to be with them until I couldn’t take the abuse from the father and would have to go  I always prayed and held on to hope and him letting savannah come home to me gave me that much more hope that it wouldn’t be much longer. It was a beautiful day in California, we took Ryker and Savannah to Santa Cruz and as they came off a ride I got a call, John’s dead, John’s dead. A dog ate him! They couldn’t save him. I tried he was to far gone. Worst day of my life. My life is still standing still, And for everyone. He suffered beyond belief.  John had just celebrated his 5th birthday and spent most of his days playing in the dirt, riding his bike, and exploring nature. He didn’t see and was not aware of the danger that was hidden next door that day,what I was told till recently bradley told me two days before the same dog had tried chasing John and jumped n the car after him. He told daddy but he thought they were talking about the old white dog they had since they moved next door in 2010. On that Sunday, he went to work with daddy and they came home around 2pm. They drove by Bradley’s friends house , four doors down,where he had spent the night and told him he needed to get ready to come home they were going to go visit their uncle. John wanted to ride his bike in the mud holes. It was raining so he came in and changed clothes and went back out to ride his bike. He was outside playing and riding his bike when his bike chain fell off. He went in to tell his Daddy and he told him don’t go out of the yard they were about to leave around 4pm,then went back out to wait for it to get fixed on the porch. Suddenly an 80-100 lb, 8-month old, pit bull entered the yard and attacked him, unprovoked. The dog continued to bite, eat and drag little John all the way across the yard, over 20″ from the spot he first attacked. Bradley, John’s older brother, was horrified as he was riding his bike home from a friends house at that moment and saw what he thought was a dummy with red hair being dragged by a dog. He quickly realized it was his little brother and ran toward them, kicking at the dog, it raises up and growled then continued to drag john,it wouldn’t stop. Little John was still crying for help as Bradley ran inside to get their Daddy. He said he kicked the door in screaming, the kitchen stove fan was running so he had to kick the bedroom door in. He jumped from bed,Their Daddy ran out yelled and yelled which caused the dog to step back and prepare to charge him. As the dog stepped back, their Daddy was able to shoot the at the dog 16 rounds hitting him three times. One directly in the forehead grazing him cause he moved, one in the ear and one in the leg that finally caused him to drop long enough to grab John and put him in the truck. By that time he couldn’t speak but was still breathing and responding with his one eye he had left. 911 was called in by the owners dog saying the neighbor just shot his kid. They got little Johns body and put him in the car to rush to the hospital. Daddy had to hold what was left of his face on. Little John was still alive as Daddy and Bradley were talking to him, telling him to “Hold on Buddy”. They rushed him to the hospital and arrived before the first responders even arrived at the residence. The emergency medical team worked on saving Little John for 45 minutes as Bradley and daddy watched until they were forced out,when he coded and they had to shock him, into another room.His wounds were too severe and we lost our angel. He had over 50 puncture wounds to his head neck arms and what was left of his face.The attacking Pit Bull had been caged and no one even knew it existed in the neighborhood is what I was being told. Daddy called and said come get the kids they were going to have an memorial in Alabama then I could take him home to California where I promised him. I drove 2,300+ miles as fast as I could to get to my angel and grieving terrified children.When I arrived the plot had been picked and paid for. Even having joint legal custody I was in such shock I couldn’t let his body sit n a morgue and fight. When he was buried that night I went to lay at his resting place and to my horror all I could hear was the sound of barking dogs. Even in death his wishes went unheard over the control of his father and his family. Our family is now missing a dear piece of our hearts. His brother is now a hero to us all. He risked his life trying to save his little brother and ever since that horrible day, Bradley has been reliving the tragedy and dealing with the daily nightmares he now has after seeing his brother basically being eaten alive by a vicious animal. Children at school laugh at him about his brother being eaten. This world is full of so much evil. This is a reality that no one, especially an innocent child, should ever have to live in. Since his horrific death I have personally done research, proven facts on this breed. I have had conversations with may victims and pit supporters. With all the facts out there on the dangers of this breed being vicious and its genetics people still defend the breed. I am now meeting with council members and several surrounding cities are now trying to push stronger leash laws, enclosures, or even bans that were brought up and put off the dockets due to re-election before. Children are blessings from God. Dogs are animals, I understand peoples love for animals and a lot of people choose or may not be able to have children so have these dogs and treat them as their own kids. They will always be animals, not children. For those who choose the dangerous breeds please stop and think, is it worth taking the chance on it turning and killing our children and family members? It’s mainly children killed by the breed, a lot are their own family pets that show no aggression till its too late. I was able to see my son in a private viewing and was not even able to touch him or his face would fall apart.The wonderful funeral home worked 18 hours strait to try and make him look as close to how I remembered him so I could say good bye to him. You could clearly still see the damage. He suffered so so much. My mind is stuck on how scared he must have been, how much pain he felt, and me not here to hold and comfort him when he needed his mommy most. His brother and father have to live with the images for the rest of their lives. I have been asked to see the pictures of his injuries to prepare me for what is to come in trial. I don’t know if seeing John that way would mentally be the smartest thing to do living next to the owners who took the dog inside, cleaned John’s blood off him, and fixed his wounds while my child was fighting for his life  I know to all that read this STORY think twice and realize this is not a story, this is truth. john has a name, a face, he was a wonderful child and could be yours. Please think twice, please do research and the risk are real. Im at peace knowing my angel is suffering no more but his suffering will forever haunt me that he did endure because of a choice someone made to have a vicious dangerous breed of animal. Rest in peace my angel  missed dearly John John. Till we see you again.

Click here to see the John Harvard tribute video on YouTube

Click here to donate to John Harvard’s family


-Dog euthanized in Riverside pit bull attack that killed 5-year-old

parents of a little boy mauled to death by a neighbor’s pit bull spoke out publicly – John Harvard – 5-years old | Riverside, AL

-Alabama fatal pit bull maulings


American Pit Bull Terrier

“The American Pit Bull Terrier is, like all the ‘bully’ breeds, one of this group of descendants of the British ‘bull and terrier’ type fighting bulldogs. Once imported into the United States, it was bred up to be bigger again, and again used in baiting animals and in dogfighting. The American Kennel Club (founded 1884) was unwilling to register these fighting dogs, so in 1898 the United Kennel Club was founded specifically to register working pit-fighting dogs and to promote dogfighting. In order to be registered, a dog had to first win three pit fights7,8,9. The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) became a ‘breed’. As dogfighting declined in popularity in the 1930s and 1940s, Colby (the most famous and prolific breeder of these dogs) began to search for a new market and began promoting the APBT as family pets10,11. This despite the fact that his breeding lines included child killers12″

In North America, from 1982-2013, Pit Bull breeds and mixes have seriously attacked 2,990 humans that resulted in 1,777 maimings and 275 deaths.




This is a list of dog breeds that have a history of being potentially dangerous to people, especially children. Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education and Awareness understands that any dog has the ability to bite or inflict serious harm to humans. This list consists of several dog breeds that have a higher than average number of recorded human fatalities. Please use extreme caution if you choose to bring one of these breeds into your home. Rental communities and homeowners insurance may restrict many of the dog breeds on this list due to the likelihood of a serious incident. Pit Bulls, Mastiff, and Rottweiler lead in fatalities and are listed first. The rest of the breeds are listed in alphabetical order:

Pit Bull Terrier Family





Alaskan Malamute

Chow Chow

Doberman Pinscher

German Shepherd

Shar Pei

Siberian Husky

Wolf Hybrid