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Dog attack involving pit bull and 4-year-old sparks debate

A pit bull attack that occurred in a nearby state last month has sparked a debate over how dogs involved in attacks should be treated after the incident. The attack occurred on Feb. 20 while the 4-year-old victim was under the care of a babysitter.

The young boy may need to have several reconstructive surgeries to completely repair the broken jaw and eye socket he suffered as a result of the dog attack. The boy's mother states that the dog has acted "without provocation" in the past and has even killed another dog; however, animal activists led a campaign to keep the dog alive. A judge has now ruled that the pit bull will not be euthanized.

Activists have stated that the babysitter was negligent and that the dog is also a victim in the case. They also argue that keeping the dog on a chain was fostering aggression. A campaign was led on social media, which involved a Facebook page dedicated to saving the dog and organizing candlelight vigils as well as a video plea on YouTube. Gifts and donations from all over the world have also poured in for the young boy. The boy's mother states she is very grateful for the support but cannot understand why so many people are supporting the dog.

The dog will not necessarily be getting off easy, however. The judge ruled that the pit bull must be defanged, microchipped and neutered. It must also live the remainder of its life in a facility from which it cannot be adopted. The animal rights group that is currently acting as trustee for the pit bull must find a shelter or rehabilitation center within 30 days.

While the debate over the fate of certain dogs will ultimately be up to the courts in such cases, the mother in this situation might still want to inquire about filing some sort of civil suit. This becomes more apparent when considering the fact that she has had to leave her job in order to care for her son. A civil case might be able to help her regain some lost wages.

Source: CBS News, "Pit bull that mauled boy escapes death penalty, but gets life sentence" Michael Schennum, Mar. 25, 2014

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