MOUNT VERNON (WABC) -- Police shot and killed a pit bull in Mount Vernon Monday as the dog was allegedly attacking a man.
But the dog's 10-year-old owner, who was out walking the dog at the time, and eyewitnesses dispute the claim and say the alleged victim provoked the attack by hitting the animal with a 2x4 and strangling it.
Kenyatta Ali is still traumatized by what he witnessed on the 300 block of Union Avenue, where police shot and killed one of his best friends.
Mount Vernon city officials say that at about 11 a.m., the pit bull attacked a 29-year-old man and mauled him.
Investigators called it unprovoked, and authorities say police had no choice but to shoot the dog before it would release the victim.
However, several witnesses say it shouldn't have gotten to that point, and that it was all a terrible mistake that got horribly out of control.
"The boy was playing with his dog, and the man thought the dog was attacking him," witness Jovonne Bourdeau said.
She believes the would-be Good Samaritan, identified as Jason McCrae, tried to step in and help the boy by beating the dog with the 2x4. That's when the dog bit him.
"It was provoked," Kenyatta's brother Malcolm Easley said. "If people have sticks, hitting an animal that's not even his, and got his hands around the dog's neck, what you think you gonna do? Be bit, right?"
According to police, the dog's owner had previously been issued violations of animal control laws.
McCrae is still being treated at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.