A tornado survivor killed in a brutal attack Sunday by a bull mastiff has resulted in more grief for a Moore, Oklahoma family left homeless by the deadly May 20 EF5 tornado that killed 24. The unnamed 5-year-old boy and his 2-year-old sister had been sent to live with a family friend in Jessieville, Arkansas near Hot Springs.
The dog’s owner, 50-year-old Lynn Geiling, said that the 150-pound bull mastiff attacked when the little boy threw a temper tantrum, saying that he wouldn’t put on his shoes.
Although they are not the same variety as the widely feared pit bull, the bull mastiff is a breed designed to protect the home.
Garland County Deputy Scott Hinojosa speculated that the dog misinterpreted the boy’s behavior:
“The child was putting on some shoes and was crying and upset. The dog possibly took that as being aggressive and at that time the child was attacked.”
There’s at least one report, as you’ll see in the video below, that Geiling said the dog came barreling out of another room to attack the boy. Before she could pull him off, he was seriously injured in the face and neck.
He was pronounced dead at around 1 PM at Mercy Hospital in Hot Springs.
The dog fled the scene, prompting Garland County animal control officers to search for the dangerous animal that killed the tornado survivor.
By Monday afternoon, the dog had been located, and a friend of the dog’s owner had shot it dead.
Right now, it isn’t clear if the Geilings will be charged in the dangerous dog attack. We don’t have any evidence yet to know whether or not they should have known that the animal might attack.
We do know that it’s yet another tragedy for the parents and sister of the tornado survivor killed as they slowly work to rebuild their home and their lives.
UPDATE: Although the dead dog has been collected by Garland County animal control for further investigation, as of Tuesday afternoon an animal control officer for Garland County, Mary Bournival, has said that it is believed to be half pit bull and half bull mastiff. She is calling for a change in local dog law as a result, telling ABC News:
“Our county does not have any regulations for dangerous dog breeds. All they need are rabies vaccinations. They don’t need licenses, they don’t need registration, they do not even need to be on a leash.”
According to that report, the Geilings were caring for the dog for a son in the armed forces, and they may not have fully understood its potential for aggression. It’s possible that better information and tougher licensing requirements to hold such dogs would have prevented the 5-year-old tornado survivor’s killing.
[bull mastiff dog photo by MIB90120 courtesy Wikimedia Commons]