Family dog kills Georgia toddler Beau Rutledge

9:39 AM, Apr 26, 2013   |    comments
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UNION CITY, Ga. (WXIA) -- A family dog who had never shown aggression before attacked and killed a 2-year-old boy Wednesday in a subdivision about 15 miles southwest of Atlanta, police said.

The mother, Angela Rutledge, and her son, Beau, were at home with their American Staffordshire Terrier mix at about 1:30 p.m., investigators said. She told investigators that she left the room for a moment to go to the bathroom, but when she returned it was clear that the 8-year-old dog had attacked her son, killing him before she could call 911 for aid.

First responders were able to corral the dog in the bathroom until Animal Control officers arrived. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Clearly, they were rattled when they came out from what they saw," said Detective Melissa Parker of the Fulton County Police Department. "Some were in tears."

The grief-stricken Rutledge was taken to the hospital; her husband, Jermiah Rutledge, was subdued with a stun gun after he came home and also became hysterical, police said.

The dog was taken to the Fulton County Animal Shelter, where it is undergoing a series of behavior tests. Officers were not certain if the dog would be killed.

Police said Wednesday that no crime had been committed, and no charges had been filed as of Thursday.

"We're not looking to charge anyone, but we have to investigate every crime, especially the death of a 2-year-old; we're gonna look at every possible angle," said Sgt. Scott McBride. 

Meanwhile neighbors in the Wexford town home subdivision near Union City are still trying to deal with what happened.

"It was really a shock, it was strange, you know, my heart goes out to the family because I have a child of my own," said Kendra Clopton.

She was among the first on the scene Wednesday when a neighbor across the street, Angela Rutledge, came out of her home screaming that the dog had killed her son.

Clopton said she never thought of the 8-year-old dog as aggressive.

"The dog was a family dog, so they always had the dog," Clopton said.

"The children was always happy to see the dog when she got home from school, when the baby was there; it was a complete shock, to this community it was a shock," she added.

Animal control workers have also been affected by what happened.

"My heart goes out to the family and to everybody involved with this horrible tragedy," Animal Services Executive Director Lara Hudson said.

Fulton County Police expect autopsy results as soon as Friday and will hand over their evidence to the District Attorney's office, who will decide what to do with the case.

Meanwhile, police confirm they used a Taser-type electronic stun gun on the child's father, Jeremiah Rutledge, when he tried to burst into the crime scene before it had been secured Wednesday afternoon.

They say he was hysterical and tried to push past them at the front and rear doors, at one point telling them to shoot him.

Sgt. McBride said the father was subdued for his and their safety, but will not be charged.

The mother was taken to South Fulton Medical Center by ambulance, "due to suicidal thoughts", according to the police report. 

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