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5-year-old boy requires surgery after dog bites, drags him

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CLEARFIELD — A 5-year-old boy is in surgery after being bit by a family pit bull Wednesday, officials said.

The boy was playing with the dog when it bit him near his stomach and proceeded to drag him through the yard, according to Davis County Animal Care and Control Director Clint Thacker. The incident occurred near 1100 South State in Clearfield.

"I heard that there were some intestines that came out," he said. "It was a through-bite that tore into the inner part of the child — the actual cavity. It didn't just break the skin; it punctured into the bowels."

The boy had broken ribs in addition to serious gashes over one eye, on his side and on his stomach, according to Thacker. He said one of the boy's ears was almost completely removed. No one saw the attack, but the boy's mother came out of the house and saw the dog on top of the boy after it happened.

The boy was transported to Primary Children's Hospital by ambulance and AirMed, according to Thacker. He said the boy was taken into surgery for non-life-threatening injuries.

It was a through-bite that tore into the inner part of the child.

–Clint Thacker, Davis County Animal Care and Control director

The dog was confined to the backyard until animal control officers arrived. The owners then turned the dog over to Davis County and it was euthanized.

Officials said the family adopted the 2.5-year-old dog from a shelter about 2 weeks ago.

"All of our dogs actually go through a behavior assessment and it doesn't matter the breed," Thacker said.

Thacker said his department hasn't received any previous complaints about the dog. He didn't know what triggered this specific dog attack, but said people can be aware of aggressive behavior in dogs and other animals by watching for large pupils, raised hackles or staring. Playing with a dog's favorite toy or food, in addition to waking them from sleep, can trigger aggression, he said.

"A lot of times our children don't know to look for these things, and unfortunately they're the most often the victims of those attacks," he said.

Experts say any breed can attack, so it's important to learn the warning signs that may be present in a dog's behavior.

"They're growling and they're showing their teeth, hackles up, backing away from somebody, being very, very fearful, being possessive over toys, possessive over people," said professional dog trainer Tonya Landon. "It can be a sign that the dog is very nervous in a situation."

Experts say it's a good idea to bring a trainer along to asses a new dog, as is bringing the rest of the family to meet the dog. It's also important to teach kids not to startle a dog, wake it up or otherwise provoke it, and experts recommend supervising children under 8 years old when they interact with a dog.

Landon said training is also essential.

"Once the dog understands what's expected out of it and how to live with the family, it's going to be a lot less of a threat to society," Landon said.

Contributing: Andrew Adams

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