CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- The owner of a Pit Bull/Mastiff mix has asked McKamey Animal Center to put his dog down after it attacked a four-year-old boy in his neighborhood.

Friday night, the little boy was playing in his front yard on Old Cleveland Pike when the dog broke free from his pen, two houses away, and latched onto the boy's neck.

The father stabbed the dog at least 10 times to get him off his son.

The dog was put down later that evening.

Karen Walsh with McKamey Animal Center says he did the right thing.

"Because of the quick actions of the father of the child, his son is still alive," says Walsh.

Many have taken to the WRCB Facebook page to voice their opinions, posting pictures of their own Pit Bulls to defend the breed.

"This isn't really about what breed of dog was involved, this is about that there was a dog attack and a child was badly hurt," says Walsh.

Julie Bingham, who says she is the boy's aunt, writes on our wall, "Thanks for all the prayers. I do wanna clear one thing up though for people who are blaming the parents. The boy was not playing unwatched in his yard, the mom and boy were walking to the car when the "dog" who got out of his cage ran up and attacked him."

"Any dog that would have caused these types of injuries would be considered a dangerous dog," says Walsh.

Walsh says one of the main factors contributing to the stigma surrounding the Pit Bull breed? Overpopulation.

Out of the 4,200 dogs they take in at McKamey each year, 42 percent are Pit Bulls or Pit mixes.

More neglected dogs, mean more problems.

"I think there's just a lot of them, and that they often are kept in situations where a dog with a strong prey drive or a dog who's very driven isn't given the proper control or the proper training, so that these types of things don't happen," says Walsh.

And as for this case, she does not question why it was reported.

"I think that when a pit bull does bite somebody the injury's usually severe. and severe attacks are what the media would report. When people are bitten by something like their Chihuahua, that happens a lot too, but most people don't report those types of injuries because the damage isn't as severe," says Walsh.

As for the boy, he is recovering after having plastic surgery.

It is still not clear if the owner will face charges.

Walsh says they have a grant program to spay and neuter 1,000 Pit Bulls to help the population problem and only 200 have been brought in by owners so far.

Walsh says in cases like this charges are usually more against the dog, rather than the owner.