DHS asked to eye conditions at pit-bull house

Posted: February 25, 2010

Police have asked the city Department of Human Services to investigate conditions in an unheated, run-down home where two children care for the two pit bulls that severely mauled a 10-year-old boy Sunday in Frankford.

The boy, Philip Sheriff, remained sedated yesterday in St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, after two operations to save his badly damaged right arm.

Detective Bob Conn, of Northeast Detectives, said yesterday that he had notified DHS "to determine if the home was fit for children to be raised there."

Surgal and Katherine McQuay live on Bridge Street near Glenloch, with two sons, Devon McQuay, 15, owner of the two pit bulls in Sunday's attack, and Surgal, 9; an infant and a 1-year-old, and possibly others, according to police. Police said they did not know the relationship of the McQuays to the infant and the 1-year-old.

Philip had slept over at the McQuay house the night before the attack and was familiar with the dogs, said Conn.

The two-story brick home was unheated, except for an open oven, and had no first-floor furniture except for a stained mattress on the floor, he said.

"I didn't see upstairs," Conn added. "Normally when downstairs is bad, upstairs usually isn't better. It doesn't improve with altitude."

"I think that's something that DHS should do."

A DHS spokeswoman said that because of privacy laws, she could not comment.

Yesterday, dog feces was piled near the front step, and a vacant wooden dog house on which was scrawled the name "Gotti" sat in a rear yard enveloped by a fence that was missing a door. A tablecloth hung cockeyed in the front window.

A group of young women stood in the living room, with one sitting on a white plastic chair. They declined to comment.

On Sunday, Surgal and Sheriff,his best friend, were walking in a park called Whitehall Commons, on Wakeling Street near Jackson, with the two pit bulls - Brownie and Mamas - when Brownie's leash broke and he took off.

Sheriff, still holding a leash on Mamas, ran after Brownie. The dogs began fighting with each other, then turned on Philip, mauling him.

Asked if the McQuay children had appeared neglected, Conn said, "No, they just weren't good living conditions."

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