A dog attack in Aurora on South Dearborn Way in early March, resulted in serious lacerations for a 5-year-old child.
According to the Aurora Police Department, a police officer on Interstate 225 was alerted of the attack by a 24-year-old man named Austin Chavez, who was taking the child to the hospital. Chavez got the officer’s attention and requested a police escort to the emergency room.
Chavez reported to the police that the 5-year-old had been sitting on the couch in their South Dearborn Way apartment, with a pit bull terrier named Cotto. The boy left the couch to get on the floor, and it was then that the dog lunged at the boy and bit him in the face.
Chavez reported that the dog refused to let go of the child, forcing Chavez to have to pry open the dog’s jaws in order to free the boy. The child reportedly suffered what is characterized as a Level 5 bite, along with damage to the right eye serious enough to require a doctor’s attention.
Chavez apparently had just adopted the dog the week prior, from the Aurora Animal Shelter, and was assured by them that the dog was well behaved around children.
Adoption paperwork from the animal shelter, provided to the police by Chavez, stated that Cotto displayed marks that suggested he had been attacked by another dog, when he was brought into the shelter early in February.
The Safety Assessment for Evaluating Rehoming Method
Animal shelters in the city of Aurora use the Safety Assessment for Evaluating Rehoming (SAFER) method recommended by the ASPCA, which assesses a dogs comfort level to different stimuli, including being touched or restrained, and being around food, children or other dogs.
Based on different responses, the method then assigns an aggression level from 1 to 5 to the dog being evaluated, with 1 being the lowest likelihood that the dog will bite in reaction to certain situations. Shelters that use the SAFER, or similar, methods report better results for the families that adopt their animals.
According to the SAFER assessment for Cotto, which was provided by the shelter to 9News, the dog received 1s for all but one of the categories, where he received a single 2. Cotto was reported to be good around people and affectionate.
In February, the City of Aurora lifted it’s ordinance restricting the ownership of certain breeds of dogs within city limits, including pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers. Since that time the city reports there have been three dogs adopted that would have previously been banned before the repeal.
Cotto was apparently euthanized at the Denver Dumb Friends League, shortly after the incident.
Animal shelters do difficult and important work, helping to prevent an immense amount of pain and suffering for animals across the country. They also help loving families add cherished new family members to their numbers. And often they do this critical work while often under-funded and under-appreciated.
But shelters have an important duty to make sure that they animals the place into the community, won’t put in harm’s way the human lives they’ll be surrounded by. When shelters fail in that duty, they can and should be held accountable.
Contact Our Experienced Denver Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured, you may not know where to turn for help. Our experienced, and dedicated personal injury lawyers can help you recover the money you need to heal, and to help put your life back on track. Contact the Gold Law Firm today for a free consultation by calling (303) 694-4653, or by filling out the contact form on this page. It’s a free, no-pressure consultation where you’ll be able to tell us about what your situation is, and we’ll be able to let you know if we can help. In most cases, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means if we are unable to recover compensation for you, you won’t have to pay us anything. Call today.