A 6-year-old boy has died after a dog-biting incident in North Port.
According to the North Port Police Department, the child sustained severe injuries to his chest Tuesday, so severe that he had to be airlifted to Sarasota Memorial Hospital initially after receiving life-saving treatment.
After he was stabilized, he was flown to Tampa General to get more treatment, but he died one day later.
“It was inside the home,” said Josh Taylor, public information officer of the North Port Police Department. “The dog was in a bedroom, the child walked into the bedroom to get something. Next thing you know, people heard screaming and jumped into action.”
NPPD said they plan to follow any guidelines as necessary as for what happens to the dog. They do not know of any previous biting or behavioral incidents involving this dog.
“From every bit of information we have so far is there’s no history of the dog acting out, which would indicate that something could possibly happen,” Taylor said. “The animal lived in the home from basically a puppy, a couple of weeks old, between 2 and 8 weeks, if I’m not mistaken, and you know, was a family pet.”
Investigators are still trying to figure out what triggered the attack.
NPPD could not say for certain if the dog was affected by fireworks and possibly acted out because of that.
Patrick Logue, master dog trainer and behavioral therapist at Bark Busters Home Dog Training, said it is a possibility.
“When dogs are in distress, when they’re adrenalized, that’s never a good combination,” Logue said. “Then you add kids into the mix. Kids bring their own stress, as any parent will tell you, and their own sense of chaos, and it is just a bad situation, especially when kids are unsupervised with dogs.”
Police have not released details on what exactly happened in the moments leading up to the attack,
but Logue said training can help dogs and pets deal with environmental stressors in a better way.
“Training dogs is great,” Logue said. “We always like to get as many people involved in the training as possible. We only recommend that adults do the bulk of the hands-on training, if you will, but a lot of times everyone in the household should be educated.”
Logue said dogs can sometimes show uncharacteristic behavior around the holidays when there are a lot of changes they’re not used to.
He also said they have a hard time understanding noises like fireworks and thunder, and it can sometimes cause a fight or flight response.
As of Wednesday afternoon, no charges have been filed. The 3-year-old dog, considered a pit bull mixed breed, was taken by Sarasota County Animal Services, and remains in their custody.
“Our hearts are broken for this young child and his family,” said North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison. “As a father and pet owner, I know this is one of the worst tragedies you can imagine. We ask that everyone take a few moments to pay respect and reflect on those you care for in your life. Our time here is precious.”