Dallas rescue group stands behind dog that bit toddler at adoption event

A Dallas pet rescue thinks a dog deserves a second chance after biting a 2-year-old boy at an adoption event two weeks ago.

Luca Romero needed stitches after the bite at Klyde Warren Park on Dec. 16 during a ‘Dallas Pets Alive’ adoption event. This week, Dallas Animal Services deemed the dog had caused serious injuries and seized it from the rescue.

The rescue group claims the dog had no history of aggression and that the child was unattended and likely spooked the dog. The boy's mother says that’s not true.

Luca’s wounds are still healing after the bite earlier this month. The 2-year-old’s mother, Allis Cho, says her memory of that day is still vivid.

“The dog wasn't growling or posturing, glaring at him or anything like that,” she said. “It’s obvious he was traumatized by the event.”

Cho says they had asked permission for her son to pet the dog, Rusty, at the adoption event. She says he went to pet other dogs and then came back to Rusty when the dog lunged and bit him.

“Literally pulled him to the ground and was like flailing him around when all these guys kind of zoned in on the dog and tried to pry the dog off of our son,” Cho said.

Dallas Animal Services determined this week that the dog had caused serious bodily injury. It seized Rusty. A judge could now decide whether he goes back to his owner or is euthanized.

On Thursday, Dallas Pets Alive released a statement making a case for Rusty to live.

“While the child had been in the area prior to the incident with his mother, at the time of the incident he had approached Rusty on his own. Rusty was on a leash and in a seated position and had shown no signs of aggression at the event,” the organization said. “This leads us to conclude that when the unattended child approached Rusty, the dog likely reacted in fear.”

Cho says that's wrong.

“When the incident happened, he was literally like two feet away from me,” she said. “And I saw the whole thing go down.”

While the group's statement also said the dog had no history of aggression, when pressed it revealed it only had the animal for a year. The dog is 4 years old.

What happened at the adoption event at Klyde Warren Park will now likely be sorted out in court.

Cho says they need to do everything they can so what happened to Luca doesn't happen to anyone else.

“We just don't want anyone else to get hurt so we just want to do our part,” she said. “Because if someone does get hurt, then we want to know we did everything we could to stop that.”

Dallas Pets Alive says they did not have anyone available for an on-camera interview with FOX 4 on Thursday.

The rescue group's statement said it would be irresponsible to guess what breed Rusty is without DNA testing and went out of the way to mention the bad rap that pit bulls get.

Despite that, the group’s website once listed Rusty as a lab/pit bull mix. They said they listed a breed without DNA testing in order to make it easier for people to search on its website.