An Austin, Texas, judge ruled that a shelter dog be euthanized after it bit a toddler.
The incident occurred on Sept. 22 when a family brought their 2-year-old son to the Austin Pets Alive! shelter to adopt a dog, according to KVUE.
The family entered the dog pen, where five dogs were allowed to play and interact with visitors.
The child can reportedly be seen on surveillance video playing with a lab named Neville without incident, according to the family's attorney. When the child then preceded to hug the animal, Neville turned around and bit the child in the face.
The child was rushed to the hospital and given 16 stitches.
Neville had never displayed aggressive behavior before the incident, according to APA! staff and volunteers.
APA! claimed they told the parents not to allow their child near the dogs.
“Common sense dictates: Don’t have a child loose running around because no dog is dog-proof,” APA! Canine Behavior Manager Mike Kaviani told KVUE. “The staff did inform them on a few instances to please not let the child down.”
The family's lawyer, however, said that the organization never warned the family against letting the child down.
Austin Municipal Judge Ferdinand Clervi ruled on Oct. 7 for Neville to be euthanized within 10 days.
The victim's family intends to file a claim against APA! for "exposing their child to a dangerous dog," according to their lawyer.
On Oct. 8, APA! started an online petition in hopes of saving Neville's life and placing him into a home. The petition has already garnered over 62,000 signatures. You can sign the petition on Change.org by clicking here.
In a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 238 cases of dog-bite related fatalities (DBRF) were reported from 1979-1998. Out of 27 DBRF during 1997 and 1998, 19 (70 percent) of those incidents involved children.