There will be a formal hearing for a rescue dog that bit a two-year-old boy at a local park in Dallas in early December, reports WFAA8 News.The nonprofit responsible for the handling of the animal, Dallas Pets Alive, is defending the animal in this case.
The mother of the victim, Dr. Allis Cho, said that she and her family were at an event run by Dallas Pets Alive in Klyde Warren Park when the incident took place. They received permission from a volunteer to pet one of the nonprofit’s dogs, a lab-pitbull mix named Rusty who was on a leash at the time. They interacted with the animal without incident, but when Dr. Cho and her two-year-old son Luca returned later, the dog attacked the young boy.
According to Dr. Cho, the dog grabbed the toddler, dragged him to the ground and would not let go. Several men nearby rushed to his assistance, but it took them several minutes to pry the dog’s mouth open and off of the child. Photos from the attack show puncture wounds to both the child’s arm and upper torso.
Dallas Pets Alive has released a statement related to the incident, saying they believe Rusty bit the child out of fear because he was “unattended” at the time. Dr. Cho disputes this account, saying she was with her son the entire time and that she was only about three feet away when the attack occurred. The nonprofit also stated they believe Rusty can be rehabilitated because the dog had no history of biting or aggressive behavior before this incident.
Dallas Animal Services is holding the hearing in Rusty’s case in early January, at which time they will decide whether the animal will put be down. Dr. Cho, who wants the animal euthanized and is concerned it may attack another child, says her son is recovering well but the family is still concerned about the emotional toll stemming from the attack. The Cho family has a larger dog at home, and their two-year-old is now afraid of the family dog and the dogs of other family members.
While Dallas Pets Alive declined formal interviews with local news outlets, the nonprofit did say it has re-examined its open adoption policies. Some of the changes include a color system for dogs at events—“green” animals can attend any events, for example, while “red” animals cannot—and no animal handlers at events can consume alcoholic beverages; adoption events are sometimes held at breweries. Each dog’s file will now contain a behavioral assessment form so that anyone involved with the animal will know its needs, and all event attendees will be approved by medical and behavioral team leads in advance. In addition, all volunteers handling dogs will now be required to undergo formal handling training.
Even a dog with no history of aggression can attack without any provocation, as illustrated by Rusty’s case. A dog can seriously injure and even permanently harm a person in an attack. If you have been the victim of a vicious dog, speak to an animal attack attorney, like a trusted Denver personal injury lawyer, about your case.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Richard Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury practice.