First Posted: 9/25/2009
A 5-year-old boy was in critical condition Friday night, hours after he was mauled by up to five Rottweilers at a relatives house.
The boy, whom officials did not identify, was attacked by the dogs shortly after 4:30 p.m. at a home on Hillbilly Lane near Pilot Mountain.
John Shelton, Surry County Emergency Services director, said the attack happened after the boy apparently made his way into the dogs pen during feeding time. When EMS workers arrived on the scene the boy had been moved from the pen and was suffering from severe wounds to the head, neck, and abdomen. He was rushed to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Shelton said.
Bobby Gallimore, Surry County animal control director, said this is not the first time his office has been called to the house in question, although he is not aware of any prior attacks by the dogs.
We have been out in the past on some complaints, he said. They (the dogs) all were restrained, or ordered to be restrained. Gallimore said those calls occurred prior to his taking his present post with the department, so he wasnt aware of the specifics of the cases. He did say in previous trips to the location animal control officers verified all of the dogs were up to date on their rabies vaccinations.
Gallimore said there were in excess of 20 dogs at the home, all of which were either kept in pens or chained. Despite the large number of animals, he said the location did not appear to be a breeding operation. Anytime Ive been there, Ive never seen any puppies. Another officer of mine has never seen any puppies. Theres no signs of any abuse or neglect, theres no signs of any kind of illegal activity, he said.
Local officials gave out little information on the boy or the dog owners Friday. Gallimore said the owners and the victim were related.
Gallimore said when his officers arrived the victim hard already been removed from the scene and the dogs never escaped the pen. Shelton said he doesnt believe any other people were injured in the attack.
Now, Gallimore said the dogs are being held in quarantine by the county and will remain there for the next ten days, as required by state law. Beyond that, he said the investigation will determine what happens next.
Animal control is taking the lead in the investigation, Atkinson said. Then well see if there are any kinds of criminal issues involved.
Gallimore could not put a timetable on the probe Friday night.
All three of the officials say they cant recall an animal attack this serious.
Weve had cases where we had people who were bitten, but I dont know if weve had anything this severe or not, the sheriff said.
Gallimore said he cant recall anything with a child this young. Its definitely a tragic situation, he said.