SALT LAKE CITY — Two pit bulls were euthanized and a Salt Lake man and his 6-year-old grandson remained hospitalized Monday, after the dogs attacked Sunday.
The man and the child were walking back to their home with their chihuahua near 100 E. Herbert Ave., when their family said the dogs started barking, rushed the fence, somehow escaped the fence and attacked.
Lamont Kinder quickly worked to separate his grandson from the dogs and in the end got the worst of the attack, his wife said Monday.
"He's a hero," Georgia Kinder said. "He saved our grandson."
The chihuahua survived as well, but all suffered significant injuries. Kinder essentially lost an ear in the attack. He also was bit multiple times and underwent reconstructive surgery Monday night.
The boy, Dominick Rangel, also had an ear bite and deep puncture wounds to his abdomen. He was so scared when his grandfather told him to run, he ran a block past his house and his mother had to go find him.
"His ear — the skin was completely off," mother Melanie Rangel said. "He was bleeding from his stomach."
The pit bulls were impounded Monday, and Salt Lake County Animal Services director Shawni Larrabee said it was the owner's choice to euthanize the animals. The owner's father turned them over to animal control officers. He said his son was too emotional to talk or hand over the dogs.
Neighbors said the dogs would bark at people as they passed by, and were "fence aggressive," though they had not attacked before.
Family members of the victims were mixed on whether any further action should be taken against the dog's owner, their neighbor. Rangel said she believed the man should be cited.
"He got a bee sting — and now he's petrified of bees," Rangel said. "Now, imagine what a dog bite will do to my son."
Larrabee says it's possible the man may receive a citation. Both animal control officers and police said he has been helpful through the ordeal.
"The owner was very cooperative with the investigation and was apologetic for the attack," Salt Lake police detective Rick Wall said.
Larrabee is using the case to raise awareness of what to do if a dog attacks. She offers the phrase "Stop, Drop and Roll" — though it's different from the version learned in grade school on how to deal with fire.
"Stop," Larrabee said, means to stop moving or struggling. "Drop" means to drop the head to the side. "Roll" means to roll the eyes and also look to the side.
Larrabee said she didn't know if the technique would have helped in this case, but it generally is a good technique to diffuse a volatile situation.