FARMINGTON — The Rottweiler that bit a boy during a public pet adoption event may not be put to death after all.
Assistant City Manager Bob Campbell said Wednesday he had stopped the process to destroy the dog.
“I was unaware we were headed down the path to euthanasia, and we are reassessing the situation with the hope that we can find another option for the animal,” he said.
The director of the city animal shelter had said earlier that the dog was quarantined and would be euthanized.
The dog bit 6-year-old Aden McCallister on the face, cutting his cheek, chin and eye area. The injuries required 28 stitches, said the boy's stepfather, Scott Hill.
An animal shelter report stated that the boy's mother had told him to give the dog a kiss prior to the bite occurring. But Janessa Hill, Aden's mother, disputed this.
She said her daughter had asked the animal control officer holding the dog's leash if it was all right to pet the dog, and the officer gave the children permission to do so. The dog bit the boy as he leaned over to pet it, Janessa Hill said.
“I always teach my kids to ask the owner before they touch a dog, and I tell them never to get right in a dog's face,” she said. “I would never tell him to give the dog a kiss. I don't know where they got that.”
Hill also disputed the animal shelter's statement concerning the amount of time the dog had been at the shelter before being brought to the Petco store for an adoption event.
She said Petco employees told her the Rottweiler had only been at the shelter for three days, not more than five days, as Campbell said.
The Hills have hired attorney Jack Fortner to represent them. Fortner said will seek money for Aden's pain and medical expenses.
Fortner said a Petco incident report provided to Scott Hill stated that the dog was an adult male weighing 50 pounds, that it had received all vaccinations with the exception of the rabies vaccine, and that he was easily spooked by loud noises.
“They knew that the dog had these tendencies, yet they didn't wait to get to know the dog better before they put him in this environment, Petco and the city have some responsibility,” Fortner said. “They should have known the dog was vicious.”
Hill said her son has been recuperating at home for the past two weeks and seems to not be traumatized. He received nerve and tear duct damage, and will need reconstructive surgery, she said.
Scott Hill said he hoped that Petco and the animal shelter will enact stricter guidelines regarding how the public interacts with shelter animals.
“I don't want this to ever happen to someone else down the road,” he said. “Animals need to be held at the shelter for a minimum amount of time, and there needs to be a barrier between the public and the animals at Petco. If even one of those things had been in place, my son wouldn't have been attacked.”
Campbell said he and the city regretted what happened.
“We are upset about the child's injuries and the trauma the family is going through as a result of this unfortunate incident,” he said.