Three Rottweiler dogs attack 10-year-old K.J. Reid, injure two others

3:24 PM, May 8, 2013   |    comments
K.J. Reid rests at Dixie Regional Medical Center while recovering from dog bite wounds he sustained when he was attacked by three Rottweilers on Monday evening. Photo Courtesy of Chante Chidester/The Spectrum
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ST. GEORGE, Utah (The Spectrum) - A children's game turned into a horrifying tragedy Monday evening when a boy playing hide and seek with his friends was attacked by three large dogs near Valley View Drive.

Ten-year-old K.J. Reid was playing in his neighborhood in the 1300 West block of 360 North when he jumped onto a concrete wall and ran along it to "get away from the kid who was 'it,'" Reid's aunt, Chante Chidester said.

"He fell off into the yard where the dogs were," Chidester said.

"The dogs" were three Rottweilers that attacked the boy, causing significant injuries, she said.

Chidester said Reid was in surgery Monday night to repair four broken ribs, put in staples to repair head and face wounds and place stitches "over numerous areas of his body, including his thighs, lower legs, chest and back."

"They did all of that damage in a minute, or two minutes tops," Chidester said.

A woman at the home rushed out to stop the carnage and ended up throwing herself over the boy to protect him, Chidester said.

"They continued to attack and turned on her. They tore big chunks - golf ball-sized chunks - off her arms. ... They were like hamburger," she said.

At that point, the woman's 11-year-old daughter ran out of the house with a kitchen knife and stabbed one of the dogs, sustaining bite wounds to her hands and arms as well, Chidester said. That stopped the attack long enough for a neighbor to jump down from the wall and retrieve the boy. The neighbor then returned and pulled the woman out of the yard, she said.

Reid is now recovering at the 400 East hospital campus, where his mother works. He is expected to be in the hospital for two to three days and on bed rest for at least four weeks after that. He currently has a chest tube in place to prevent a lung from collapsing, Chidester said.

The woman who owns the dogs underwent surgery for her injuries Monday night as well, Chidester said. The girl has been treated and released from the hospital.

"It looks like it is kind of an unfortunate accident with someone ending up in someone else's back yard," St. George Police Sgt. Sam Despain said. "The dogs were not necessarily at large. ... This is kind of an isolated, unusual incident."

Even so, Despain said an investigation into the incident is ongoing to determine if any criminal charges will be filed against the owners. St. George's licensing ordinance allows a maximum of two dogs at a residence except for at agricultural-type properties, where four dogs are allowed, according to information posted on the city's website.

The three dogs were removed from the property and are being held at the animal shelter.

Despain said he didn't know if there have been any other complaints about the dogs, but Chidester said reports about them have been filed with the police previously.

"When you've got three dogs together, they start exhibiting pack behavior. One starts barking, and the others don't know what he's barking at," she added.

Chidester said she didn't know how Reid's ribs were broken, but at one point witnesses saw the boy on his side with a dog's jaws clamped around his chest.

"This was a big dog - the male. He put up a real big fight," she said. "Even after he was sedated, he was still fighting. It took eight men to get this dog into the back of a truck."

Shantell Christensen, a neighbor who lives across the street from the residence, said her husband has been in the yard numerous times to do landscaping work and has never had any trouble with the dogs.

"I do think they've been responsible dog owners," Christensen said. "We haven't had any issues as far as I'm concerned."

Christensen called the incident a sad consequence of children playing around different homes in the neighborhood.

"If you could follow your kids around with a rubber suit, I'm sure that's what every parent would want to do," she said.

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