EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the city’s animal shelter destroyed the pit bull. The dog was destroyed by the Denver Dumb Friends League shelter after it was surrendered there by its owner.
AURORA | Less than a month after Aurora formally allowed pit bulls and several other breeds back in the city following a 15-year ban, a local private shelter destroyed a recently adopted dog after it mauled a 5-year-old boy’s face over the weekend.
City staffers sent a memo to Aurora City Council members Wednesday, briefing them on a dog bite that occurred in the City Center neighborhood on Sunday.
The message details how a 2-year-old American Staffordshire terrier bit the boy’s face as he was playing video games at his stepfather’s house on South Dearborn Way on March 7.
According to reports, the boy was on a couch with the dog. The dog attacked the boy, and his stepfather had to pry the dog’s locked jaws from the boy’s face. He then dragged the dog to a bathroom and shut the dog inside.
The boy sustained multiple lacerations “greater in depth than half a tooth length,” across his entire face, according to the memo. A doctor has recommended further examination to his right eye.
The attack was “unprovoked,” people who witnessed it told Aurora animal services staff. The dog earned strong marks in an evaluation conducted by staffers when it was transferred to Aurora in early February.
“Thinks he’s a lap dog and will sit in your lap to give you hugs and kisses,” an evaluator wrote on Feb. 18.
Following continued investigation, the dog was destroyed by the Denver Dumb Friends League shortly after it was taken there the day of the bite.
“Our thoughts are with the victim and his family, and we hope for a full recovery,” city spokesperson Ryan Luby said in a statement. “The Aurora Animal Shelter uses the nationally recognized SAFER evaluation to assess dogs’ suitability for adoption, gauging an animal’s reaction to various encounters and stimuli such as food, toys and interactions. While this behavioral assessment is an effective tool, no assessment can be a predictor of animal behavior in all situations and circumstances. People who adopt animals from the shelter are required to sign the city’s standard adoption agreement acknowledging this risk.”
The dog, whose owners had named it Cotto, was one of the first three previously-banned animals to be adopted in the city after Aurora city council members reversed a standing ban on American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers in January.
Passed in January, the measure reversing the ban went into effect on Feb. 14. Cotto was adopted on Feb. 27.
Aurora residents had originally passed the ban on pit bull ownership in the city via ballot measure in 2005. Voters again upheld the prohibition via another measure nearly a decade later.
One Aurora resident has threatened to sue city council members for their recent unilateral decision to nix the ban, claiming local politicos usurped the will of voters.