May 01, 1988 Rockford Aunt's Pit Bull Mix Attack Boy, 3

Machesney Park — A 3 year-old boy was injured when he was attacked Saturday afternoon by his aunt's dog, a pit bull mix, a Winnebago County sheriff's deputy said.

Ryan O'Connor, 7402 Scott Lane, was playing in the backyard of his aunt, Jackie Davis, 31 Liberty Blvd., when the dog attacked him, said Deputy Rocco Wagner.  The boy suffered "puncture wounds on the face and back and severe lacerations on the back of the head," Wagner said.

The boy was released Saturday evening after treatment at Swedish American Hospital.

The dog, half pit bull and half British bulldog, was chained at the time of the attack, Wagner said.  He said the dog was released, at the owner's request, to Winnebago County Animal Control and will be destroyed after an observation period.

Wagner said the same dog attacked a young girl last July.

Officials at Animal Control said they will hold the dog for a 10 day quarantine period before they destroy it.  They said the dog had received its proper rabies shots.  The observation period is additional protection. 

William Taylor, 28 Wilshire Blvd., who lives across from Davis' yard, said he was gardening at the time of the attack and heard the dog "growling viciously."

"I looked up and saw the kid was underneath the dog," Taylor said.  "I saw the dog taking vicious bites, so I started screaming and yelling at the dog.  The dog just looked at me for a second, and the boy managed to pull himself out from underneath the dog.

"The dog was taking serious, vicious bites which really shook me," he said.

Taylor said he did not notice the boy playing in the yard before the attack.  He did not know if something provoked the attack.

The Rockford Register Star, Rockford IL, May 01, 1988, p. 3A