Toddler mauled by dog still in critical but stable condition

22-month-old taken to Shands UF Gainesville with 'significant injuries'

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

HAWTHORNE, Fla. - A 22-month-old boy mauled by a dog at a Hawthorne home on Monday afternoon is in critical but stable condition, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

The child was taken to Shands UF Medical Center in Gainesville about 2 p.m. with significant injuries to his face and arm.

The boy went into respiratory arrest on the way to Shands UF Medical Center in Gainesville, but was revived. He was stabilized at the hospital and underwent hours of surgery. He remains in the pediatric intensive care unit and will likely need reconstructive surgery.

The Sheriff's Office said information that they were given Monday that the child was attacked at a friend's house was incorrect. The attack occurred in the backyard of the boy's home on Melrose Landing Boulevard while his mother was inside sleeping.

The home is on rural property far from medical services. The boy was driven to a convenience store by his mother and a man who called 911 on the way. Putnam County paramedics met them at the store and drove the boy to Gainesville.

Deputies and animal control officers have secured the pit bull mix that attacked the boy, along with six other dogs on the property. It is still being determined if the dog involved in the attack will be quarantined or euthanized. 

A criminal investigation was underway and some items from the home were sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for analysis. Decisions regarding criminal charges against the boy's mother will be made by the State Attorney's Office, Putnam County Capt. Gator DeLoach said.

The Florida Department of Children and Family Services is also investigating. If the evidence shows the child was in imminent danger, DCF will not allow the child to be returned to the home.

DeLoach said the dogs, which all appeared to be pit bulls, are being housed at an undisclosed location outside of Putnam County.

“We've got our criminal investigations bureau here along with crime scene investigators and Putnam County code enforcement and animal control as well,” DeLoach said.

He added that this was the first time the Sheriff’s Office has responded to that address for animal-related issues.

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