Westfield boy’s arm saved

WESTFIELD – Doctors were able to save the arm of an 8-year-old Day Avenue boy after he sustained serious injury when he was bitten by his family’s dog Tuesday.
City police had been notified of the incident Tuesday evening when the boy’s father had asked that the city’s animal control officer take custody of the dog.
He went on to explain that the dog had bitten his son’s arm.
Hospital staff said at the time that the boy’s brachial artery, a major blood vessel in the upper arm, had been damaged and his circulatory function was impaired.
Kenneth Frazer, the director of animal control operations in the city, said that animal control officer Kerry Francis had transported the dog to the city’s shelter Tuesday evening and when he spoke with the boy’s parent’s on Wednesday afternoon they told him that doctors were working to save their son’s arm “but they don’t know if they’re going to be able to.”
Frazer said that the spoke with them again Friday and learned that the boy’s arm had been saved and his is expected to regain use of it.
Frazer said that the circumstances which led to the biting incident are unknown but said that finds it difficult to believe that the three year old English bulldog named “Abel”, which had been a member of the family since it was eight weeks old, would have attacked the boy intentionally.
Although the boy’s father has been reported to have said that children had been bouncing on a backyard trampoline and that activity may have excited the dog, Frazer discounted that as a reason for the attack.
He said that children had apparently been up on the trampoline and the dogs – he said that family had two – had been running around on the ground, “like you would expect them to.”
He said that he has learned that, immediately prior to being bitten, the boy had been passing through a gate in the yard. The boy “got his arm hung up on the gate” and started yelling for help when he couldn’t immediately free his arm, Frazer said.
He pointed out that the scenario he thinks is likely is “strictly speculation, nobody saw it and nobody knows” what happened but said he believes that Abel may have been trying to help the yelling boy and didn’t recognize that the arm inside the fence belonged to the boy caught on the other side.
“I think that he went to help him and he got the kid, thinking that someone was hurting him,” Frazer said.
Francis said that she also spoke with the boy’s father and reports “the little boy is doing great.”
She also said that Abel was euthanized by the boy’s father on Wednesday.
If a person is unwilling to keep a dog which is responsible, for whatever reason, for a horrific injury to a child there are few options available since there are obvious liability issues connected with placing a dog with a ‘bite history’ in a new home.
A volunteer with an American bulldog rescue group who called the newspaper to inquire about the fate of the dog, Kathy Staniunas, said that Best Friends animal sanctuary in Utah will provide sanctuary for such dogs.
She pointed out that Best Friends took care and custody of Michael Vick’s fighting dogs after his conviction for cruelty to animals.

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