Tulsa Toddler Bit By Dog Outside Apartment Complex
TULSA, Oklahoma - A little boy is recovering from a dog bite he got Sunday night and the dog is under quarantine for possible rabies.
The child wasn't seriously hurt, but the dog will likely be euthanized.
The dog's owner said he tried to get the child to stay back, but when the boy got close, the dog reacted.
Ralph Mendoza's voice cracked as he talked about his dog biting the arm of a little boy.
"I lost focus on keeping him away from the child and he came up from behind me and he got him," Mendoza said.
It happened Sunday night, just outside the apartment complex where Mendoza lives with his children, and until now, with a 4-year-old pit bull named Chaos.
Mendoza had Chaos out for a walk, when the little boy approached and was bitten once on his right arm.
Now, Chaos is in isolation at Animal Welfare, because Mendoza couldn't produce proof of a rabies vaccination.
"Biting someone is not an automatic death sentence," said Jean Letcher, with Tulsa Animal Welfare.
Chaos is likely to be euthanized, because Animal Welfare took him in for testing, and Mendoza can't afford the fines and fees to get him back.
They say the dog doesn't appear be vicious.
"In this case, the owner warned the child and the child, as children will do, ignored the warning," Letcher said. "There was, I understand, one bite: two puncture wounds. It was not a mauling, it was the single bite."
Sunday night, in the confusion after the dog bite, police put Mendoza in handcuffs, while they questioned him about what happened.
He was not arrested.
He signed over ownership of the dog willingly and admits the dog has bitten two people before.
"I don't know if I can prevent something like this from happening again, and this makes me. I don't know what to do, really," Mendoza said.
Mendoza blames himself for not doing more, but doesn't blame the little boy.
"I don't like what happened at all, I tried to prevent it. But he's a kid, he didn't do anything wrong," he said.
Animal Welfare has dozens of healthy dogs with no history, who will be euthanized if they're not adopted, and that's why they don't take a chance on dogs with a history.
The owner was cited for having a vicious dog, because of the bite Sunday, but that's a ticket, and he was not arrested.