Owner Identified, Dog Still Missing?
Alton, IL - The mother of a 9-year-old boy attacked by a neighbor's pit bull pleads for the owners to turn the animal into authorities to spare her son a painful treatment. He child suffers from sickle cell anemia and also lacks a spleen. Undergoing the rabies treatment will further supress his already stressed immune system.
Malik Gipson was playing with a cousin in the front yard of their home when the neighbor's pit bull snapped his chain and went after him. Malik suffered 20 puncture wounds from the vicious attack. His mother said, "We heard this loud squealing noise, and the dog had him on the ground." After family members rushed out, the dog retreated.
"I'm really concerned, because my son doesn't have a spleen, which is what helps fight off infection," his mother said.
Malik's spleen was removed when he was 9 months old following complications from sickle cell anemia. It is a serious condition, in which the red blood cells become sickle-shaped, and can form clumps and blockages. Normal red blood cells are round and move easily through blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
Malik's mother wants to know why the dog wasn't taken into custody after the attack. She thought it was protocol for a dog that bites a person to be quarantined for rabies observation. "They are required to test for rabies," she said. "If this dog is not tested or there is no proof the animal is vaccinated, my baby will have to take a series of shots."
Gipson asked Animal Control to come and pick up a pit bull that she had been keeping in her back yard for her brother, who left town four months ago. "I called my brother and told him he either needed to come get the dog, or I was getting rid of it," she said. The dog didn't seem aggressive, but after the attack, she doesn't want to take any chances.
"It's a shame that the neighbor's dog is the one that attacked someone, and we are the ones getting rid of a dog."
According to the Illinois Animal Control Act, a "dangerous dog" is one that bites a person without justification. A "vicious dog" means a dog that, without justification, attacks a person and causes serious physical injury or death, or any individual dog that has been found to be a "dangerous dog" on three separate occasions. Regarding rabies, the act states:
"When evidence is presented that the animal was inoculated against rabies within the time prescribed by law, it shall be confined in a house, or in a manner which will prohibit it from biting any person for a period of 10 days, if a licensed veterinarian adjudges such confinement satisfactory. The department may permit such confinement to be reduced to a period of less than 10 days. At the end of the confinement period, the animal shall be examined by a licensed veterinarian."
Police say that the case is still under investigation and that the dog owner has been identified so there is less cause for concern. But the dog still seems to be missing (or at least not under quarantine). Malik's mother said, "I just want to know where the dog is, so it can be tested and my baby doesn't have to undergo those horrible tests. He's in pain enough."