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8-Year-Old Westfield Boy Bitten by Family Dog


WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — An eight year old Westfield undergoes emergency surgery after being attacked by his family’s American Bulldog.

Police say the eight year old boy was trying to go inside after jumping on a backyard trampoline, but got caught on a gate.

That’s when the dog suddenly turned on the boy.

“I’m horrified. Shocked,” neighbor Andrew Renfro said. “Couldn’t believe that something like that would happen.”

The dog’s bite struck one of the boy’s arteries, but doctors were able to save his arm through surgery. Police say shortly after the incident, the dog was euthanized for safety concerns.

Renfro lives across the street and says he never saw the dog acting aggressively.

“From what I know from those people they train their dog very well and I would never have any reason to believe the dog would do something like that,” Renfro said.

The boy’s dad told investigators that the dog was territorial and often got excited when kids used the trampoline but never showed any forms of aggression.

“He falls right into that category of children that get bit the most, and I hate to say it. It is young boys,” owner of Dog Pals Jim Helems said. “They are loud, they like to play, and dogs gets going.”

Helems runs a bite prevention training program. He says any dog can suddenly bite it’s owner. Watching for warning signs is key, including:

  • The dog turning his head away from a family member
  • Showing the whites of his eyes
  • Growling
  • Excessive yawning
  • Licking his chops

“It’s just saying ‘Hey I’m feeling a little uncomfortable right now. Could you back away? Maybe calm down and relax?’ So watching those subtle signs can actually tell what your dog’s mood is,” Helems said.

The boy is expected to make a full recovery. Helens says the dog could have been trying to help the boy and may have thought it was time to play.

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