A 3-year-old boy in Hillsboro, Oregon, is in serious condition after being bitten and mauled by two large dogs in Washington County, according to a news report. Anthony Jewell is still in intensive care after the Bullmastiff mixed breed dogs, apparently with no history of vicious and violent behavior, lunged at the boy and attacked him in the yard of a house in rural Washington County where he was playing.
Both attacking dogs were reportedly shot by their owner before animal control officers even arrived on scene. The dogs also bit three adults who tried to separate the toddler from the frenzied dogs.
I’ve never had any concern for the owners of vicious dogs after they have attacked someone, especially owners who have been negligent with their animals. In this case, it appears that the dogs have never bitten or been aggressive to anyone previously. The news report states that the Bullmastiffs were penned and in the process of being leashed when they got loose and attacked the child.
In the cases we have handled and have been associated with, we see often that the offending dog owners hide the dogs or take them out of the jurisdictional reach of the local authorities so the dogs don’t have to face the consequences of their vicious behavior. In this case, the owner chose to make sure the dogs never attacked any one again by gunning them down – not an easy decision to make in the heat of the moment. He or she did it swiftly and with no cost to the public.
In my opinion, the dog owner did the right thing after what was no doubt, a tragic dog attack. I imagine it was done with a huge amount of mixed emotions. He or she will still be liable for the little boy’s injuries, but I applaud this person for stepping up and doing the right thing. We see so many dog owners fight vigorously to protect their proven vicious dogs instead of making sure that the offending animal never has the opportunity to attack anyone again. By doing so, they are protecting their own families and their communities from a future attack.