The dog, a black Labrador Retriever named Gordie, had been with the family for seven years and never had any problems with other people or kids, according to Amanda Jolliff, the boy’s mother.
"I had that dog for seven years and he never showed any kind of aggression towards a human being at all," said Jolliff.
According to Jolliff, her son, Josh, was playing outside when he heard Gordie whining while chained up.
"He just started doing his puppy whining. Josh went over to pet him, to reassure him, 'It's okay.' The dog just snapped," said Jolliff.
Josh went over to pet Gordie and the dog attacked, biting the right side of his head, left shoulder and left hand, Jolliff says.
“Josh has thousands of stitches to his head, I would say,” said Jolliff. “His scalp was hanging on by the skin around his ear on the right side.”
According to the family, the attack was unprovoked. The family was able to intervene and separate the dog from the boy, and the dog ran away from the area.
“Just the night before, Josh and Gordie had slept together,” said Jolliff.
Erie Police responded and within a few minutes attempted to catch the dog. However, as police attempted to catch the Labrador it charged the officer as if it were going to attack.
The officer, fearing he was in immediate danger of being attacked, shot and killed Gordie.
“I never would have thought Gordie could or would do this,” said Jolliff. “If I would have thought this could happen to my son, Gordie would not have been around.”
The Jolliff family also has a Chihuahua, which they say they have never had any problems with.
“I would tell you if you have small children around and have a dog larger than 20 pounds I would seriously think about getting rid of it.” said Jolliff.
Veterinarian Barbara Mclucas says it's a painful lesson that any animal can be aggressive at any time.
“It can be a loud noise that set off a fear reaction. It can be a territorial reaction in this case, you noted that the dog was chained, and any dog that is tethered or chained can have a tendency to become territorial,” said Mclucas.
Mclucas says the chain may have trapped the dog into a situation where it became aggressive.
“Never chain or tatter a dog, whether that be with in a yard or with in a house, don't confine them to a space, because if something is happening, they're limited, they have absolutely no area to flee to. If you get that fight or flight mode kick in, they don't have anywhere to go,” said Mclucas.
Josh is at The Children’s Hospital doing extremely well and says he can’t wait to get home to his pet rat.
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