Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Fort Yukon, AK - A toddler was killed in Fort Yukon this week when he wandered into a neighbor's yard and was attacked by a chained dog. The boy, identified by his grandmother as Abraham Jonathan Tackett, was pronounced dead on arrival at the village clinic following the attack.
Abraham would have been 2 years old on May 19, said his grandmother, Mary Beth Solomon. The boy got his middle name from his great-grandfather, Jonathan Solomon, a prominent Fort Yukon orator and traditional Gwich'in chief. "I don't think he realized the danger," she said. "He was a real friendly kid."
The attack took place about 3 p.m., when the boy and his father were preparing to run some errands. They stepped outside into the front yard, and the father put the child down while he ran back inside for a moment. In this time, the boy wandered into the neighbor's back yard about 50 yards away.
There were a number of chained dogs in the neighbor's yard that had recently been fed and were still eating. According to the police, the child approached a 3-year-old husky mixed breed and the dog attacked, apparently protecting its food. The father found the child while he was still under attack, but could not save him.
The fatal attack is the second in the last dozen years in Fort Yukon, a village of about 600 some 145 miles northeast of Fairbanks. In 1996, a 4-year-old boy was killed by a previously nonviolent malamute-husky mix in a sled dog lot behind the village store, according to news reports at the time.
This dog also had no history of aggressive behavior, but police shot it Monday night in the interest of public safety. The family doesn't blame the dog's owners. They didn't know the people well, but they always kept their dogs chained and there hadn't been any problems with them in the past.
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