Dog faces euthanization after attack on W.Va. boy

June 20, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. -- A dog that attacked a young Hedgesville, W.Va., area boy last month now faces euthanization after the Berkeley County Commission on Thursday unanimously accepted a nuisance appeal board recommendation that the dog be declared vicious.

The boy's father said medical bills for treatment of wounds to his son, now 6 years old, are about $25,000.

"I don't think it's responsible to keep the dog alive," Scott Daiker of Pink Dogwood Lane told the commission.

According to Berkeley County Animal Control records, the boy was flown to Children's Hospital for repair of his right eye after initially being taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg on May 6 for treatment of multiple bite injuries. The boy's skull was visible in a forehead wound and his nose also was bloodied, authorities said.

The child's mother told Animal Control officer C.P. Lyons that her son was outside playing when the dog attacked, according to the officer's report.


The dog owner, John Penwell, also of Pink Dogwood Lane, said his golden retriever, Shadow, was not a mean animal, but also acknowledged that the boy had been bitten previously by his dog.

"Mr. Penwell advised that Shadow was running at large and that he also believes the bite may have been provoked by Joshua trying to put sunglasses on the dog," Lyons said in his report.

The boy's father said Thursday that his son is recovering from the attack, but will continue to receive medical care for about a year.

Penwell said in a statement that his dog was playing at the boy's home with several children, and believed the only reason the attack happened was because the animal was being provoked and teased.

"I do not approve of what the dog did ... (but) I feel the outcome so far, in relationship to the dog, was judged by the damage caused instead of the actual law," Penwell said.

Penwell retains the right to appeal the commission's decision to circuit court.

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