NEW BEDFORD — A New Bedford man has been charged after he allegedly ordered his pit bull to attack a 13-year-old girl, resulting in the child being bitten four times, according to court documents.

The attack was reported to New Bedford Police on Tuesday by two teenage girls. One of the victims, a 13-year-old girl, told police that she and friends were walking on Linden Street on Friday afternoon when they walked by the home of another girl that the victim had been having issues with at school. The victim and the girl who resides on Linden Street are both students at Keith Middle School.

The victim told police that the girl she was having trouble with had "put an SOS" on her. She explained to police that "SOS" stood for "smash on sight," meaning that friends of the girl were instructed to hit the victim upon seeing her.

The victim told police that the girl's 16-year-old sister, mother, and step-father came outside and engaged the two female victims in a verbal confrontation. The step-father, Jerry Chery, 28, had a pit bull on a leash.

The verbal confrontation turned physical, according to the 13-year-old victim. She said the older sister and the mother, Tammy Domino, 34, struck her several times.

During the alleged assault, Chery yelled for the pit bull to "get her" and "attack," the victim told police. Chery let the dog chase after her with the dog jumping onto the 13-year-old girl and biting her four times. The victim sustained bite wounds to her back, right elbow, left knee, and right arm. The wounds were photographed and submitted to police.

Police also viewed video evidence of the encounter.

A friend of the victim's mother happened to be driving by and witnessed the alleged encounter and instructed her to get in the car. The 13-year-old girl was transported to St. Luke's Hospital.

After hearing the account of the two girls, New Bedford Police officers responded to 28 Linden Street to question Jerry Chery of the alleged incident. Police say Chery, who had a knife affixed to his waistband when he met with the officers, was confirmed as the owner of the brown pit bull and was arrested without incident.

Chery, a Haitian immigrant, allegedly told police he was only trying to scare the children away and apologized by saying "I know I was wrong."

Chery has been charged with assault and battery on a child with injury, assault to maim, assault with a dangerous weapon, and disturbing the peace. He was arraigned Wednesday and has been ordered held pending a dangerousness hearing on April 16.

The Department of Children and Families has been notified of the incident and the charges filed against Chery.

The mother, Tammy Domino, and her 16-year-old daughter will likely face charges in connection to the incident.

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