The bull mastiff that bit a 6-year-old Oswego boy in the face at has been euthanized, Warden Christine Johnson said.
The boy was petting Moose about 9 a.m. Sunday, July 3, as his father, who Johnson said was completing court-ordered community service hours, was feeding the dog inside the shelter. The father, a 33-year-old Plano man, told the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office Moose suddenly lunged at the boy and bit him in the cheek under the eye.
“(The father) advised he has had some previous contact with this particular dog as it has been on site for approximately two weeks and appeared to be very friendly; however he was not aware of the reason the dog was at the facility,” the Sheriff’s Office report said. “… He stated the attack was unprovoked and he had no idea why the dog had attacked.”
The incident gained publicity this week after the boy’s mother discussed it during public comment at a Kendall County Forest Preserve District meeting. Johnson said Friday morning that she was meeting with County Administrator Jeff Wilkins and Anne Vickery, who chairs the County Board’s Animal Control committee, to discuss possible policy changes in light of the incident.
Johnson said the facility has received a flood of animals, volunteers and community service workers since the economy faltered, so it might be time to reconsider the facility’s use of unpaid workers. She also said they might discuss ways better monitor the public inside the facility.
Leaders also might reconsider volunteer age restrictions.
“If they are under 16, they have to have a parent with them at all times,” Johnson said. “But that’s probably going to change.”
Animal control has no written procedures for responding to dog bites involving employees or volunteers, but this was the first dog bite at the facility or involving facility workers in about two years, Johnson said.
The followed its typical protocol with dog bites, which involves exploring the dog’s history of bites and vaccinations and forwarding the information to Animal Control, Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Scott Koster said. If the dog doesn’t present an immediate safety concern, police generally don’t take any other action; they also don’t investigate possible negligence in the situation.
“As far as we were concerned, the parent was appropriately supervising the child while he was interacting with the dog,” Koster said.
In this instance, Moose was at Animal Control because his owner did not pay the fee at a local veterinarian after a 10-day confinement for biting a mailman outside a Boulder Hill home, officials said. Moose had stayed at Animal Control for unrelated reasons two or three times in recent years without incident, Johnson said.
Since June 17, Moose was kept in a limited contact section of the facility, which has signs stating “employees only allowed in this area” and “keep hands and fingers out of the cages,” according to the police report. His rabies vaccination was current, and shelter leaders were holding him there while trying to decide how to respond to his owner not picking him up, the report states.
Johnson wondered if Moose suffered from poor eyesight, possibly biting because he didn’t see the human in front of him.
“I know (an Animal Control employee) went to give him a treat one time and he didn’t see it until it was almost in front of his face,” Johnson said. “But you never know, dogs don’t talk.”