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Boy bitten by dog is out of hospital

SAFETY HARBOR — The 6-year-old Safety Harbor boy who suffered serious bites from a dog Sunday is out of the hospital, according to All Children's spokeswoman Ann Miller.

The dog that bit Tydal Sugar on the head and shoulder is a pit bullterrier and German shepherd mix named Tucker. The dog, which was being fostered by Tydal and his mother, Rosemary Sugar, is under a 10-day quarantine by Pinellas County Animal Services. His fate is unclear, said Animal Services field enforcement manager Linda Britland.

Generally, if a dog is relinquished to Animal Services because the owner deems him dangerous, the dog will be put to death. But this case is a little different. Though Tydal's mother had possession of the dog, a current rabies vaccination certificate lists the owner as Dunedin Doggie Rescue, a nonprofit mixed-breed rescue organization.

Tucker still could be euthanized if an investigation shows the dog is dangerous, Britland said.

Ken Koenig, who runs the rescue organization, said Rosemary Sugar, 34, started fostering Tucker eight days before the attack. Koenig, 49, said he wasn't sure if he would try to reclaim the dog.

"We need more information, but a large part of that decision will be based on Rosemary's wishes," he said.

Koenig said his first concern was Tydal's well-being.

Sugar could not be reached for comment Monday on the attack or her son's condition.

Dunedin Doggie Rescue got Tucker from a shelter in Bradford County shortly before Christmas, Koenig said. The dog, which is about 18 months old, had lived in about 10 foster homes without incident before going to the Sugars, he said.

The organization rescues dogs from rural kill shelters when their time is running out. All of the dogs are examined by a veterinarian, receive shots, get spayed or neutered and microchipped. They spend several weeks at Koenig's home, where their behavior is monitored, before being placed in a variety of volunteer foster homes for two-week periods.

Koenig said Tucker has never shown aggression toward people.

"He's been out in public at maybe 30 events and he's been around kids and people and he never had issues," he said.

Officials with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said Sunday they believed the dog attacked Tydal after the boy started "screaming and flailing" when he was bitten by ants.

Koenig said he was trying to determine if the dog had been bitten by ants, too.

The Humane Society of Pinellas does not adopt out pit bulls and some other breeds to families with small children, said Barbara Snow, executive director of the Humane Society of Pinellas.

Animal Services places animals on a case-by-case basis, said operations manager Greg Andrews.

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4162.

Boy bitten by dog is out of hospital 08/04/08 [Last modified: Saturday, August 9, 2008 9:25pm]
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