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10 Year Old Boy attacked by three dogs in St. George, Utah

Posted by: on Tue, May 07, 2013

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Editor’s note: Images in photo gallery may be graphic to some viewers

ST. GEORGE — Three people were recovering Tuesday from serious injuries after a young boy fell into a yard with three dogs and was mauled.

The wild scene happened about 5:30 p.m. Monday when 11-year-old KJ Reid climbed up on a wall dividing his property and a neighbor’s yard while playing hide-and-seek with friends.

“I was up on a wall, and I fell off,” the boy said. “I couldn’t get back up on the wall. (The homeowners) didn’t know I was back there. They let the dogs out. The big one came over to me and grabbed a hold of my chest. And the other two came over and started helping him beat me up.”

St. George Police Sgt. Sam Despain said three full-grown rottweilers were in the yard, and at least one of the dogs weighed about 100 pounds.

“This young man, from what I understand, was just playing a game of hide-and-seek. And two of those rottweilers began to attack and bite this young man,” Despain said.

KJ said all three dogs tried to bite him. A woman who lives at the house, the dogs’ owner, ran to the boy’s rescue as soon as she heard the commotion.

“And the mom went over and immediately went on top of him and covered him up with her body so he wouldn’t get injured,” neighbor Joanna MacLennan said.

(Photo: Chidester family)

But the dogs did not stop their attack.

“Those dogs then turned on the homeowner. She received some pretty significant bites to her arms,” Despain said.

That’s when the woman’s 10-year-old daughter saw the boy and her mother being bitten and ran outside.

“In an attempt to help, (she) grabbed a kitchen knife and went out and actually ended up stabbing one of the dogs,” Despain said.

“She came out with a little kitchen knife, and she ran over to us and started stabbing the dogs,” KJ said. “But it didn’t really stop the dogs that much. And when she finally got them to (stop), they started attacking the mom.”

With the dogs’ attention distracted, KJ said he attempted to make a run for the gate. But one of the dogs spotted him, ran over and bit him on the thigh and attempted to drag him back into the yard. That’s when the young girl tried to stab that dog, KJ said, and the dog turned and bit her.
“(KJ had) bite marks pretty much all over his body — his legs, arms, his side and his head, which did require him to go into surgery (Monday) night.”
–Sam Despain, St. George Police

“(KJ had) bite marks pretty much all over his body — his legs, arms, his side and his head, which did require him to go into surgery (Monday) night,” Despain said.

But KJ said he was more worried about the woman who tried to help him and received serious bite marks on her arms.

“She was one of the people who helped me and she got hurt a lot. So I thought it was kind of my fault she was going to go to the hospital,” he said.

The young daughter, whose injuries looked worse than they were, was treated and released Monday for bite marks to her hands, Despain said.

“She was covered in blood,” MacLennan said of the young girl. “And she said that she needed towels because the dog had gotten them and mauled on them.

“It was scary. She was covered in blood. Her flesh wounds and her arms were all ripped apart,” she said.

MacLennan said it was possible that the dogs went into a “pack mentality” once the attacks started.

Two of the dogs were taken by St. George Animal Control officers. Despain was unsure Monday what, if any, charges might be filed. He noted, however, that city ordinance allows residents to own a maximum of two dogs.

Despain said the dogs were not part of any dogfighting operation or running wild. MacLennan described the homeowner as being very kind and caring.

“The dogs were in an enclosed yard. It was fenced off,” Despain said. “They weren’t out running around the neighborhood.”

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Pat Reavy, Crime Reporter

Pat is a police and crime reporter. He interned at KSL Radio in 1989. He was hired by KSL Radio for a part-time position in 1991 and later a full-time position a couple of months later. Pat was hired by the Deseret News in 2000.