Young Tornado Survivor Killed in Dog Attack

[caption id="attachment_2149" align="alignleft" width="300"]oklahoma dog bite lawyer Bullmastiff: commons.wikimedia.org[/caption] A 5-year-old boy who survived the May 21 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, was killed Sunday in a dog attack at the home of a family friend in Arkansas. Police reports indicate that the boy and his 2-year-old sister were staying with 50-year-old Lynn Geiling and her husband in Jessieville, Arkansas, while their parents worked to rebuild their home in Moore. Geiling told police that the young boy was having a temper tantrum, and while she tried to calm him down, the couple's bullmastiff came in from another room and attacked the boy. She said that she attempted to intervene, but by the time she was able to separate the boy from the dog, the child had suffered serious injuries to the head and neck. The boy was pronounced dead at a Hot Springs hospital. The dog ran away after the attack, and animal control authorities were still searching for it late Sunday night. Upon capture, police say, it will be euthanized. Investigators have not yet determined whether or not criminal charges will be filed in the attack. Bullmastiffs are large dogs, typically weighing between 90 and 130 pounds when fully grown. Despite their size, they are known as being gentle and loyal. Bullmastiff breeders say that the dogs are generally good with children, and they make good watchdogs because they are only aggressive when threatened. They are known as both the "Silent Watchdog" and the "Gentle Guardian." Because the child in this incident was having a tantrum when he was attacked, police believe that the dog perceived the noise as a sign of aggression and was perhaps trying to defend its owner. Though bullmastiffs have been responsible for a number of attacks and fatal maulings over the last several years, they are not typically listed among the most dangerous dogs--lists which often include pit bulls, rottweilers, dobermans, and chow chows. Bullmastiff breeders say that the dogs are unlikely to attack if unprovoked, and that most bullmastiff attacks involve mixed breed dogs rather than purebred dogs. One list of "most dangerous dogs" includes small breeds like chihuahuas, dachshunds, llasa apso, and Jack Russell terrier. Small breed dogs may have an equivalent tendency for aggression as larger breeds, but because of their size, are not responsible for as many severe injuries or fatalities. Dog lovers are quick to caution that the dogs themselves are not responsible for vicious attacks. Generally, dog violence is perpetrated through training, abuse, neglect, or breeding. For this reason, dog owners are held liable for the actions of their pets.  

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