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Man Shoots Dog that Attacked Toddler

HAZLETON, Pa. -- A man shot and killed a dog in Hazleton Saturday afternoon after he said it attacked his young child.

It happened around 4 p.m. along the 300 block of West Spruce Street in the city. Police say a 15-month-old child was bitten on his face. Officials say the bites were located on the toddler's forehead and even inside his mouth. He was taken to a trauma center. There is no word on his condition.

The child's father told police he was watching the dog and after the attack, the father told police he shot and killed the animal.

Officials with the Luzerne County SPCA say it's unlikely that a dog would attack unprovoked, and that it's important to know the signs of a dog in distress.

"Most of them will show you stress signals, like tail tucking, yawning, lip smacking. That's all signs that a dog is trying to show you they're stressed," explained Amber Reese, a veterinarian technician with Luzerne County SPCA. "If they're avoiding eye contact, if they are avoiding you altogether, these are all things that show you the dog is trying to get out of that situation."

Officials at the SPCA say that while accidents such as this can happen, there are ways to be proactive, especially when caring for a dog that isn't yours.

"Typically when you have a dog that you don't know off the top of your head, like it's not the dog that you're with all the time, we always suggest keeping them on harnesses and leashes at your house, just so in case things like this happen, you can pull them back and redirect them on something else," said Lindsay Varneke, Luzerne County SPCA operations manager.

Police say testing will be done on the dog to check for rabies and other illnesses at a later date.

The Luzerne County district attorney's office and Hazleton police are investigating the incident. No charges have been filed at this time.


  • taytaytay1993

    How about we hold the parents responsible instead of blaming the animal. Dog’s do not usually attack for zero reason, I’m sure the child instigated something especially if the dog wasn’t previously violent. If the dog was calm enough for the parent to carelessly leave them with the dog then I blame them. Yeah praise dad who now killed a defenseless animal in the heat of the moment. So many people do not deserve animals, let alone children. I bet this kid will think twice before messing with another dog.

    • darkhorse6669

      They only praise him because he used a gun it doesn’t matter if it was a brutal rash decision , that automatically gets him a high ranking among our gun nuts.

  • George Lamprinos

    I don’t care what breed dog it is. If any dog would attack my son it would be fed in to a wood chipper face first. You have no idea what kind of revenge I would exact if anyone did anything to my son.

  • norman vincent

    There’s another story in the times leader. The mother was on meth doing laundry while the child was out back playing with two dogs.

    Is the father also on meth.

  • yougottabekiddin1

    “Watching the dog”? Obviously, a poorly raised and unsocialized animal who has not been around children. Just an animal I would have around a small child. They should have shot the owner of the dog too! Always had dogs. Most raised with kids until they moved out on their own. Always made sure to socialize them from pups around children/strangers/noisy places. Knobles is a great place to do this as noisy and every kid wants to pet a puppy. Get dog..stick in crate most of day…create unpredictable, possibly dangerous animal! Newsflash….a good predictable dog is a lot of work!!!

  • Jack Irvin

    SPCA cares more about dogs than children. Scumbag people can own dozens of dogs that destroy neighbors quality of life and people like the SPCA will always defend the dogs allowing cruelty to people

    • taytaytay1993

      That’s an ignorant statement to make, children and animals both need people to advocate on behalf of them since they cannot do for themselves. For someone to say that dogs destroy neighbors quality of life is so ridiculous. Grow up, people have pets.

      • yougottabekiddin1

        But irresponsible people raise and keep dogs that are unpredictable and possibly dangerous. Especially, when they are aggressive and the owner let them roam and don’t clean up after them! Raising a good dog is a lot of work! A lot of work. I take great pride when Your child asks to pet my dog and my dog enjoys the experience as much as your child. Even when a child hugs them they do not react as they have been raised as such. My 90lb boxer is sleeping on my lap at this very second. I do not need a aggressive unpredictable dog for protection….I have a Ruger for that!

  • albertcohol

    Officials with the Luzerne County SPCA say it’s unlikely that a dog would attack unprovoked, and that it’s important to know the signs of a dog in distress.

    Yeah the child provoked the attack.
    What a douche bag!!

    • norman vincent

      No charges at this time? A gun was discharged in city limits. They were quick to charge that lawyer for dispatching that wounded animal after he called for assistance.

    • yougottabekiddin1

      Not necessarily distress…the owner raised a unpredictable animal. Nobody loves dogs more than me, but a dog that will attack a child is unacceptable and dangerous. Don’t get dogs that you have no time to raise properly as this is the result. They need to be taught and accept being approached by children, if nothing else. Although, shooting the animal after the fact accomplished nothing. Maybe, the first step should have been not to “watch a dog” that you didn’t know how it was around children! Not all dogs have been around kids, unfortunately. Blame whoever owns the dog. They should be shot too!

      • savescrantonhistory

        Because we know for certain that the little kid in this story wasn’t pulling the dog’s tail or doing other things to agitate and annoy it, right? Sorry. But there’s an equal responsibility for PARENTS to keep an eye on their kid(s) to make sure they’re not tormenting the animal(s) that may be in the house. Sure. Sometimes animals just attack out of the blue. Yet I’m also willing to believe that the dad of the year in this story was an absentee parent who didn’t watch the kid and dog and the kid was antagonizing the dog. The thing that gets me is that he killed it AFTER the attack. What a “brave” human.

        As for small dogs and attacks, there was a story about a year ago (I think) about a dog groomer in South Scranton who was attacked by a little dog. It left the person laid up for months.

    • nowiseenitall

      Damn right he did the right thing! If it happened to my kid I’d turn the dogs head into a fine pink mist!

      • taytaytay1993

        You’re a disgusting human, how about you do the right thing and don’t own or watch any animals. Clearly you’re too stupid to do it the right way. No reason a poor dog should die because you’re an idiot.

    • George Lamprinos

      Or a pitbull mix. You never hear of any other breed attacking a human. It’s always a pit/rottweiler/german shepard or a mix of those.

      • Sue Phillips

        You are absolutely wrong… any dog will bite in the right circumstances.. even the small ones. I have had, in the past, a Lhasa Apso, bite for no obvious reason. Why was 15 month old child allowed to torment a dog???

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