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Friday, 18 July 2014 00:00

Dog Bites 5-year-old Thermal Boy

A dog bit a 5-year-old boy in the face and arm this afternoon (Friday, July 18) in Thermal. The bite happened at a ranch-style property in the 88-300 block of Avenue 57.

Riverside County Animal Services responded after receiving a call from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. The incident happened just before 4 p.m. The property has several houses within a fenced lot and the dog is normally tethered at the lot, the owner told Animal Control Officer Gerald Duchene.

Officer Duchene said that the boy, who lives at the property, was playing with other children. He had converted a discarded weed-eater box into a costume, complete with eye holes so he could see where he was going in his boxman outfit. The curious dog, a male, 2-year-old German shepherd-Shar Pei mix named Pickett, wandered over to the boy. Everything was OK until the boy took off the boxman costume, Officer Duchene said. That's when the dog, apparently, freaked out, the officer said.

"As soon as the little boy took off that box, the dog charged him," Duchene said. "It's hard to say whether the dog was spooked out when suddenly a child appeared from under the box, but he went after the boy."

The boy suffered at least two bites.

The owner of the dog surrendered the dog for humane euthanasia. Officer Duchene said the man was visibly "shaken" as he spoke with him and cooperated with the officer's report. He told the officer he didn't know how the dog had gotten loose. The dog was not current with its rabies vaccination and its remains will be transported to a local lab for testing.

As an aside, a dog is not allowed to be tethered for extended periods of time, per state law. A trolley system is a legal way a dog can be kept within a property in an effort to protect people and prevent the dog from escaping a yard.

Officer Duchene said he believed that relatives of the child transported him to an area hospital for treatment.

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