Dog that attacked North Texas toddler at adoption event to be put down

- A Dallas judge has decided to euthanize a dog that attacked a toddler at a pet adoption event in December.

Allis Cho says her 2-year-old, Luca Romero, had to get several stitches on his arm and chest after a rescue dog named Rusty him at a Dallas Pets Alive adoption event at Klyde Warren Park in Downtown Dallas.

Dallas Pets Alive said Rusty is a pit bull and Labrador mix with no history of aggressive behavior. The organization believes Luca was unsupervised when Rusty bit him out of fear.

“One guy was punching the dog. Another guy had his hands in the dog’s mouth. and his hands were all ripped up,” Cho told the judge during Friday’s hearing. “And they were finally able to pry the teeth off him. And then, we were able to get him out from under the dog.”

Cho says they had asked permission to pet Rusty. Her son did, then circled back later and approached the dog when she says the dog bit, pulled Luca down and didn't let go.

Dallas Pets Alive claims a handler lifted the dog's legs up and it let go and says Cho had left the boy unattended and that Luca likely spooked the dog.

Cho disputed the pet rescue’s claims. She told the judge she was only a couple of feet away from her son.

At the hearing, attorneys for the rescue grilled Dallas Animal Services over its investigation into the incident and for not interviewing any witnesses of the attack besides the boy’s parents.

Animal services quarantined, then seized Rusty last week and sought court approval to euthanize him.

Dr. Deborah Torne, a longtime animal services veterinarian, says Rusty remained aggressive once in their shelter and was alarmed by the attack.

“I’m afraid had there not been intervention, that the child would have probably been killed,” Thorne said.

Dallas Pets Alive, which seeks to make Dallas a no-kill city, says it wants to send Rusty to a sanctuary in New York for dogs with behavioral issues. He would live out his days there and never be adopted out.

The rescue does not believe he should be killed over what happened, but it’s executive director agreed she would not feel safe putting her child with Rusty.

The rescue organization’s attorney plans to appeal the judge’s decision. The dog is scheduled to be put down on Jan. 16.

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