Witness describes dog attack

PUHI — A family member of the 2-year-old boy attacked by a family dog said the boy’s injuries don’t appear to be life-threatening but he will need to undergo surgery.

One member of the family and a witness to the mauling spoke to The Garden Island Thursday from the Puhi home on grounds she didn’t want to provide the name of the boy or the family at this time.

She said the boy’s parents are with him at Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu, where he is in serious condition.

“He is stable now,” said the dog’s owner and relative to the boy.

It is a multi-generational home and the woman lives in a back apartment with her 1-year-old daughter, who is a cousin to the boy. The boy and his twin sister live in the main home with their parents.

The dog’s owner said the 4-year-old pit bull involved in the attack was raised as a house dog and was used to being around children. The boy’s mother also has a pit bull, she added.

“We have always had dogs but all different kinds,” she said.

At the time of the Tuesday morning attack, the dog owner was baby-sitting and had scolded the twins for playing with sticks inside their Wena Street home. She sent them outside and put the dog in the kitchen.

“The children were playing with sticks and my daughter was hit,” she said, adding that the family is sticking together through the tragic ordeal. “The dog saw her crying and became upset.”

The kids continued banging on the door, which upset the dog, she said. The 2-year-olds opened the door and when they came back inside, the dog started biting the boy before she had a chance to restrain it in the kitchen.

The circumstances would have made any dog upset, she said. It was because this dog was around 100 pounds that made it a bad situation.

“I should have realized that he (the dog) had gotten angry with them about the whole stick thing,” said the dog’s owner, who had medical tape on three of her fingers covering wounds she said she suffered putting her hand in the dog’s mouth to keep it from biting the boy. 

The child was transported to Wilcox Memorial Hospital, and then medevaced to Queen’s Medical Center.

The attack happened so quickly the dog owner said she had trouble recalling everything when the police came. The children witnessed the incident and were crying. She asked the dog be taken to the Kauai Humane Society to be put down, which it was on Tuesday.

The dog would growl or bark when people went by the house but was fine with anyone once they were inside, she said. He hadn’t shown this type of behavior with the kids.

It wasn’t until the next day when she learned the boy was stable that the emotion of the event and losing the family pet began to sink in. Her daughter was close to the dog but the woman said she is grateful the girl is too young to realize the dog is gone.

The incident remains under investigation.

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