Adoptions at county Animal Control are on hold after police said a 5-year-old boy was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries from a dog that attacked him Wednesday night.
The boy sustained non-life threatening injuries to his face and upper body after a BOXER/BULLDOG MIX adopted from the county agency attacked him in Severna Park, county police said.
Chief Timothy Altomare suspended adoptions from Animal Control as of Friday, pending a review of the process and best practices in other jurisdictions.
"Maybe there's something else out there that we can find that can prevent another family from this," he said. "I looked at the pictures of this little boy and it ripped my heart out of my chest and I can't even let a half percent chance that this can happen again without a full systemic check."
Altomare said he doesn't have a timeline for when adoptions will resume, but if county facilities reach capacity, he will be vetting the euthanization of animals. He said he will ask other counties if they have space and consider other alternatives before having to make that decision.
He was unable to provide the capacity of county Animal Control Friday night.
"My goal is to try to get through this without having to euthanize one dog," he said. "I'll probably have some tough decisions. I'm hoping our vetting process doesn't last months."
He said he will try to use a sliding scale based on the dog's size and potential for serious injuries, to make decisions.
"AT THE END OF THE DAY MY TRUE NORTH IS GOING TO BE I'M GOING TO HAVE TO PROTECT PEOPLE," HE SAID.
It appears preliminary that all safety procedures were followed with regard to the boxer/bulldog mix, he said. "I don't think anybody dropped the ball on this."
Police department spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure and Altomare expressed sympathy for the family.
"I can't imagine the anguish this family is going through, during the holiday season," Altomare said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to them. And we will do everything within our power to prevent a reoccurrence of this tragic incident."
Officers responded to the 500 block of Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard around 8 p.m. Wednesday and found the dog was adopted from the Animal Control facility earlier in the day, officials said.
Family members told police the boy was playing with the animal when they heard the dog make a noise, police said. The family members entered the room and saw the dog biting the child's face and head, according to officials.
Animal Control took custody of the animal and euthanized it that night.
Frashure said in his 15 years with the department this is the only time he can recall a newly adopted dog biting someone.