Ryan Maxwell

The Story of Ryan Maxwell

Ryan Maxwell was a 7-year-old boy who was full of life. He loved baseball, camping, fishing, playing the piano and hanging out with his friends and his extended family. Ryan had a special relationship with his grandpa who would help him shoot his pellet gun.

“He was such a gentle soul and his smile would light up a room. That’s what makes it so horrible. He loved dogs.” – Ryan’s great aunt, Paula Johnson

The fateful day in March 2013 when Ryan was attacked and fatally mauled by a pet pit bull was like so many other days for the active little boy who loved the outdoors. It was chilly and there was still snow on the ground. Ryan had slept over at the home of family friends, something he often did, after having been invited to go roller skating — his first time ever — the evening before.

Ryan and the other boys had finished lunch and were told to go out to the backyard to play. It was only a short time later that one of the boys yelled inside to his grandma that the family pit bull named “Ghost” had suddenly and brutally launched an attack on Ryan.

Despite the owner’s attempts to get the dog to stop by using a shovel at one point and a lighter at another, Ghost would not stop her deadly strike.

“I couldn’t believe it was Ghost. Oh God, it was so horrible. I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t stop it.” – Ashiya Ferguson, owner of the dog that killed Ryan

When officers arrived at the scene, the pit bull was still horrifically gripping Ryan’s face and neck. One officer was able to shoot the dog dead. Paramedics arrived on the scene shortly after and transported Ryan to the local hospital where, sadly, he succumbed to his catastrophic injuries.

“Not my baby. This isn’t fair. This isn’t right. Words can’t describe how I feel right now. I have never felt this much pain in my life.” Ryan’s grandmother, Tina Mead

Ryan’s whole family, like so many other families who’ve lost a loved to a canine attack, feel unbearable sorrow and pain at losing their beautiful boy. They now hope to educate others on the dangers of keeping dogs that have the potential to carry out such vicious attacks upon the most vulnerable members of our community — our children.