Sue Tacket, a 51-year-old woman, was arrested after her 90-pound Pit Bull attacked and severely mauled a 19-month-old boy in a parking lot in Commerce City, Colorado, on Sunday night, News9 reports.
"The child went to give the dog a hug, and it latched onto his face," said Commerce City police spokesman Chris Dickey.
The Pit Bull was tethered to a pole at the time, the Denver Post reports.
Tacket, her dog, and the child were all part of a group of transients that were traveling together when the attack occurred, News9 learned.
The dozen people in the group apparently were homeless and traveling together in motor homes, Dickey said. They were camping in the parking lot of the King Soopers at U.S. 85 and East 62nd Avenue, where the attack occurred at approximately 7:30 p.m., KUSA reports.
Pit Bulls are illegal to own in Commerce City. Sue Tacket was charged with unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog.
Investigators say the toddler suffered severe neck and facial injuries but is in stable condition following surgery at Children's Hospital Colorado, where he was rushed by ambulance.
Officers attempted to restrain the Pit Bull using animal control devices, known as, “catch-poles.” They state that the dog continued to fight and was very aggressive toward them.
The dog was ultimately subdued sufficiently to safely load it into an animal control vehicle and transport it to the Adams County Animal Shelter. However, News 9 advises that the struggle during the restraint process caused it to die from asphyxiation.
Sue Tacket, the Pit Bull’s owner, was transported to the Adams County Detention Facility.