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November 22, 2013

Dogs attack children walking to Okla. school

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN, Okla. — Two dogs attacked a group of schoolchildren Wednesday morning as they were walking near All Saints Catholic School on 36th Avenue Northwest, leaving at least three with bites, others scratched, one with a concussion and many shaken, officials said.

Capt. Tom Easley said the dogs were captured by Animal Control. One of the dogs, a Dogo Argentino, had no tags or chip and was euthanized. The dog’s head was taken to the state Health Department for examination.

The second dog, a Great Pyrenees, is being held and was not euthanized because all witnesses reported that it did not bite anyone, animal welfare supervisor John Bowman said.

Easley said reports indicate the children were walking from Mass at nearby St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church back to the school. Easley said the attacks occurred in the 3900 block of 36th Avenue Northwest.

Police are investigating, and the dogs’ owners have yet to be located, he said.

The Dogo Argentino is a large, white muscular dog that was developed in Argentina primarily for big game hunting.

Dr. Theresa Bragg, director of operations at All Saints Catholic School, said the children have been walking from St. Mark’s after Mass through the Castlerock neighborhood without incident since the school opened.

“We will no longer be walking back from Mass. It was one of those fluke kind of things. We’ve done it for 10 years without incident,” Bragg said.

She said the students were escorted by teachers and were leaving the Castlerock addition when two large white dogs began attacking the junior high students.

“The kids had just turned that corner, and the dogs came rushing out and got in the middle of them,” Bragg said. “Several heroes came out of the blue. We had our crossing guard, teachers, a gentleman from Don’s Lock Shop that helped us. Several passers-by stopped.”

A parent of one of the injured children reported that the dog had her daughter’s head in its mouth. Another student threw her backpack at the dog, which then turned on the other girl.

Bragg said one student was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and others were taken by private vehicle. One student was knocked down by the dog and had a concussion.

“Our crossing guard was beating the dogs off with a stop sign, and the Don’s Lock Shop guy was between the dog and the kids and was telling the kids to get in his van to get away from the dogs.”

The locksmith, Quinton Holzbaugh, was not available for comment.

Ed Averyt, 45, the volunteer crossing guard, said he noticed the commotion and ran to the students with his hand-held stop sign.

“I got all the kids across the street as fast as I could and then I ran down there,” Averyt said. “The dog was off the kid but was nearby. He was within lunging distance and still growling and showing his teeth.

“It made a lunge at me, and I had my pole and I whacked him in the head with my pole, and then it made another lunge at me and I whacked him again. He knew I meant business at that point,” he said.

An email advisory was sent out to parents alerting them of the attack. City officials asked for anyone with knowledge of the animals’ owners to contact Animal Control.

“It’s been a very active day, and it was really scary because a number of kids witnessed it,” Bragg said.

Copyright 2013 The Norman Transcript

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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