Police warn pet owners to keep their animals secure

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

A 7-year-old boy was severely mauled by a dog two weeks ago that had bitten two other people in the past, including an animal shelter city worker, and city officials are cracking down on vicious dogs.

City officials said the boy was bitten on his arms and buttocks and required 38 stitches to close up the wounds.

"This is not going to happen (anymore)," Police Chief Danny Bueno said. "No body should be a victim in this community, especially children."

According to reports, the boy was taken to the emergency room on July 26 at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice after being bitten by a German Shephard, owned by the boy's grandfather.

The incident occurred in the 700 block of Laurel.

Police reports state the boy was bitten on the right elbow, inner right thigh and on his buttocks. The report said the dog was tied up with a rope. When it charged at the boy, the boy ran towards the dog.

Officials are taking these types of cases serious.

As with this case, a hearing was scheduled and the judge determined the dog was vicious.

After a judge determines a dog to be dangerous, the health and safety code specifies restrictions to the owner that include the owner to register the dog, restrain the dog at all times on a leash in the immediate control of a person or in a secure enclosure, the owner must obtain liability insurance coverage or show financial responsibility in an amount of at least $100,000 to cover damages and the owner must comply with the regulations, requirements or restrictions on dangerous dogs.

In this particular case the owner agreed to have the dog destroyed, officials said.

Officials said the dog bit a woman who was visiting the family from out of state in 2006 and also bit an animal control worker in January 2007 when she was called out to the area because neighbors were complaining the dog wouldn't allow them to get out of their car.

As the city worker was talking with the owner of the dog, the dog lunged at her and bit her on both arms and chest area, causing deep teeth marks, the report said. The city worker was out of work for about two months to recover from the injuries.

Bueno is urging dog owners to restrain their pets to prevent them from attacking innocent bystanders. Pets in city limits are required to have their tags and rabies shots.