Judge spares dog that mauled one-year-old to death for now... after campaign by animal rights activists to save him from euthanasia
The dog that mauled a one-year-old boy to death has been temporarily spared by a judge so activists can plead with local officials not to destroy him.
A hearing on Friday will determine whether Onion should be euthanized by officials in Henderson, Nevada, or turned over to an animal-rights group that will send him to a sanctuary for aggressive dogs.
Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan died just after celebrating his first birthday when the six-year-old mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix lashed out and clamped onto the child's head for 30 seconds with his massive jaws.
The dog shook Jeremiah as he bit down, breaking the boy's neck and mangling his face.
'There is nothing vicious about the attack,' Richard Rosenthal, the head of the group that is fighting to save Onion, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The organization, the Lexus Project, said it has found a dog sanctuary near Denver where the animal could spend the rest of his life.
District Judge Rob Bare issued an emergency restraining order on Monday that temporarily stops Henderson animal control officials from destroying the dog after the Lexus Project filed a legal petition.
The dog could have been euthanized today.
'Killing the dog will not bring back the baby,' Mr Rosenthal, a New York lawyer, told the newspaper.
However, Onion's owners willingly turned him over to animal control officials last weekend.
‘For what he did to my son, he deserves to be punished,’ Jeremiah's father, Christopher Shahan, said. ‘I’ve already accepted the fact that he’s dead,' the Chicago Tribune reported.
Jeremiah's grandmother, Elizabeth Keller, watched in horror as the dog bit her grandson in the head. She sobbed as she told the Review-Journal that the public legal fight over Onion's fate is putting even more strain on the family.
'I don't care if they save the dog or not. We need to get past this,' she said.
Les Golden, a Chicago-area dog rescuer who is leading the campaign, told the newspaper that he hopes a flood of supporters will persuade Mayor Any Hafen to stay the euthanasia.
The family had just helped Jeremiah celebrate his first birthday at their Nevada home April 27.
The boy was learning how to walk, and tried to help himself up by grabbing on to Onion, who weighs 120 pounds.
Onion latched on to Jeremiah’s face and neck and began shaking him back and forth.
‘I tried everything I could think of to do to try and get him off our baby,’ Ms Keller recalled tearfully to WXIX.
However, she was unable to pry Onion off of her grandson. Mr Shahan, rushed to help, saying that his son’s jaw was loose and half of his face was missing.
Jeremiah was rushed to St Rose Dominican Hospital, where he was declared dead.
According to the coroner’s report, he sustained blunt force injuries of the head and neck.
Mr Shahan told the Review-Journal that the dog had broken his son’s neck as well. He has little sympathy for the family pet.
Animal control officers in Henderson said Onion was a ‘vicious’ dog and requires euthanasia.
The dog attacked and killed a child,’ animal control spokesman Keith Paul said,’ adding that it would be ‘irresponsible’ to allow Onion to continue living.
The family has set up a memorial fund for Jeremiah to cover the cost of his funeral and burial.
Source: Daily Mail