FARMINGTON — A small Rottweiler, brought to a Petco store from the Farmington Animal Shelter for an adopt-a-pet event, bit a 7-year-old boy on the face, city officials said Tuesday.
The dog was quarantined and will be euthanized, said Angie Arnold, director of the shelter.
Assistant City Manager Bob Campbell said the child received a 1-inch cut on his upper right cheekbone.
A city emergency crew treated the boy on site Nov. 25, the day of the bite. He then received stitches in the emergency room of San Juan Regional Medical Center.
"There were two dogs available for adoption that were brought into Petco by animal control," Campbell said. "A lady with three kids came in, and one of the animal control officers was holding a small Rottweiler. When he turned away for a moment, the woman told her son to "give the doggy a kiss,' and then the dog bit the kid on the face."
The dog was on a leash, but people were free to interact with him.
Campbell said the city tried to contact the child's mother to offer to pay for medical expenses, but had not reached her.
A witness, Petco sales associate Alexandra Webb, described a more serious bite, saying the boy's face was badly torn.
"It's a really good thing the dog didn't get his eyeball, as the bite was right under the eye," Webb said.
Campbell said city officials, along with Arnold and other shelter staff members, met with Petco management the day after to discuss improvements in overseeing animals in public places.
Campbell said the dog had been a stray and was held at the Animal Shelter for at least five days before being taken to Petco.
"The Rottweiler had shown no previous signs of aggression, and showed promise and potential for being adoptable," he said.
Petco, on west Main Street, partners with shelters to hold adoption events at the store each Sunday afternoon.
Staff at the animal shelter said all dogs taken to Petco receive distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza and bordatella vaccinations, and are vetted for good temperament. Animals were not given rabies vaccinations because there is no authorized veterinarian on staff to administer them.
This will change. Arnold said dogs in the adoption program now will be vaccinated for rabies because of the biting case.
"But we haven't had an outbreak of rabies in years," Arnold said. "We have only had one case of rabies, and that was a skunk."