Victim of a school-remembered fatal pit bull attack, the community of Hampton Co.
The young victim of a fatal animal attack will forever be remembered by her school and her community.
Cameron “Jayce” Hatfield, of Brunson, died on January 20, 2021, following an attack by a “pit bull” dog. He was only six years old and his death shocked and saddened the community, his family and his friends.
“Jayce was an amazing kid,” said his grandmother, Penny Graves Barnes. “He believed in God and prayed for his family every day.”
It’s been over a year since his death, but Jayce is not forgotten. His school, Fennell Elementary School in Yemassee, honored his life by planting a tree, placing a memorial bench on campus, and hanging a bird feeder in his memory.
“This horrific accident made all the kids aware of safety and dog attacks, especially at Fennell,” Barnes said. “If anything good has come out of this tragedy, it’s the knowledge other kids have about stray dogs or dogs you don’t know very well.”
Children and parents should always be aware of possible dangers around dogs, Barnes added.
Jayce’s death also has an impact on a larger level. A bill proposed by the South Carolina House of Representatives, H. 4094, which would be known as “Jayce’s Law” if approved, would require owners of unspayed pit bull dogs and breeds to register their dogs with a government animal control agency and pay a $25 fee.
State animal shelters support the bill, which would encourage owners of pit bulls and related dogs to spay or neuter their pets to reduce populations across the state. However, this bill is meeting with a lot of opposition from some animal groups and dog owners. The bill awaits final approval into law.
Meanwhile, as the issue remains contested at the SC General Assembly in Columbia, Jayce’s life and sacrifice will not be forgotten here in Hampton County.
With the help of Jack Hutto of the Hampton County School District office, Jayce school officials wrote a grant to fund a memorial in Jayce’s honor. They revealed his Buddy Bench at the school’s awards and graduation day on June 24, 2021, where he was later placed on the school playground.
“When I received the devastating news from our sweet Jayce, my heart broke,” her kindergarten teacher, Rebecca Evans, said during the memorial at Fennell Elementary. “He was the funniest, bravest, most humorous and willful little human. He is part of our family and we all love him dearly. of our family who is now missing.
“Who would have thought that someone so small could have such a big impact on so many people?” added Evans. From his hilarious sense of humor to his love of horror movies, I’m so grateful for the time and memories we’ve been blessed to share together this year.”
“I am so blessed to have known and loved Jayce. And I knew without a doubt that his personality would be shared with many other children forever… Please keep our class and friends and Jayce’s family in your prayers. His presence and special personality will be deeply missed forever. But in my heart, he will always be.