An 8-year-old Center Grove area boy is recovering this week after a neighbor’s dog attacked him, causing injuries requiring about 20 stitches, his mother said.
The boy, Noah Clouser, had walked over to a neighbor’s home to see if the child there wanted to play. The dog, a pit bull mix, burst through the front door of the house in the 3000 block of Chantry Way and chased the boy off the property, biting his leg, arm and other parts of his body, his mother Amanda Clouser said.
Noah was bleeding heavily, unable to talk because he was in shock and was taken to the hospital to have muscle and skin stitched, Clouser said. Due to the severity of his injuries, Noah is permitted to walk only to and from the bathroom and cannot bend over or squat, she said. He has missed one week of school so far.
Noah wasn’t allowed to play in the neighbor’s yard and had told his parents he was visiting another friend when he went to the house where the dog lived, Clouser said. The friend his parents thought he was visiting wasn’t home, so Noah had gone to the other house and rang the doorbell. His friend came to the door, but so did the dog, which lunged at him and chased him home, biting him, Clouser said.
Now, the dog has been taken to the Johnson County Animal Shelter, and the owner is facing a ticket and fine.
The animal control office investigates about 350 bite cases per year, but the child’s bites were the worst he has seen in the past two years, animal warden Michael Delp said. He sees injuries such as Noah’s once or twice a year at most, he said.
Few of the bite cases the county office investigates each year end up with a victim going to the hospital and getting stitches, as in this case, he said. About 255 of the reported bites in the county last year were on people, and the others were on animals. Most of them were dog bites.
The dog’s owner gave the pet to animal control, and the department is keeping the dog for 10 days to make sure it does not have rabies or any other diseases. The dog will be killed after the 10 days because it attacked a person, and the owner will have to appear in court and likely pay a fine, Delp said.
“When you have something like this, it’s serious,” he said.
The dog wasn’t taken until Monday, which was a concern to the Clouser family.
“This dog was out for blood. That dog should never have been left over there. Not even for one day,” she said.
The dog was left at the home because the county animal control officer arrived after Noah had been taken to a hospital, and the department needed a medical report, Delp said.
Dogs rarely have to be euthanized as this dog will be, he said. Typically, his office quarantines a dog, and no further problems are reported.
Under county regulations, owners are responsible for controlling their dogs and can be fined if a dog is outside of its yard, hasn’t been vaccinated or causes a traffic accident by running in the street, Delp said.
About 20 times per month, the county animal control office gets a report of a person or another animal being bitten. The reports come from residents, emergency rooms, medical offices and police departments, which report that an animal bit a person or animal.
The county office is responsible for investigating each case. An animal control officer is sent to the owner’s home to interview the owner, victim or victim’s parents. The investigator also requests medical reports and photographs of injuries, Delp said. A report detailing what happened is written; and after the 10-day quarantine period, the animal control officer writes a citation.
When a bite is minor, such as a dog nipping a hand while trying to grab a toy from a person, the officer won’t always write a ticket. But when someone has been injured, the county will do interviews and collect photographs, then take the dog to quarantine it, if necessary.
Animal control takes the dog if it attacks a human and causes serious enough injury that requires a hospital visit, multiple stitches or reconstructive plastic surgery, he said. Animal control also has the option to take a dog if its attack on another animal is serious, he said. He can also get a seizure warrant if needed to force a pet owner to give up a dog.
But typically the owner will either turn the pet over to animal control before the department even knows what happened or give it up once animal control starts investigating the attack, he said.
If owners are ticketed, they can pay their fine or appear before a judge and fight it. A judge will decide how much the owner gets fined, but the amount will probably be about $130, Delp said. The judge will consider whether the animal was healthy or had rabies or other diseases when determining the fine amount, he said. The judge also would consider whether the animal was running freely rather than kept on the owner’s property and if it were immunized or not.