Two teenage boys suffered from a dog attack, resulting in one death and one injury. The friends were walking along the street in Paterson, NJ on Friday afternoon when a bullmastiff broke free from his yard and ran toward the boys.
The 115-pound dog scared the boys when he broke free from his chain-link fence, causing them to run in opposite directions. The one teenager, who remains unnamed, suffered bite marks on his hand and arm, but managed to get away, get help with the wounds and make it to the hospital for treatment.
The second boy, now identified as 13-year-old Kenneth Santillan, was not found immediately. The incident that began at 4 p.m. led to an extensive search involving family, neighbors and authorities. His friend, once released from the hospital, also joined in the search. There were blood stains in the driveway and in the snow leading to the creek. At 11 p.m. Santillan was found dead, his body half covered in water and nearly frozen.
The owner of the dog, Paul Clarke tried to intervene during the dog attack and stabbed the dog several times. He also suffered bite wounds on the hand. His dog, Trigger, was humanely euthanized by authorities. Chief Animal Control Officer, John DeCando, said “in 37 years, this is the worst that I’ve seen.” He described the dog attack as “extreme.”
Residents confirm that the dog was often left outside and “abandoned.” It reportedly barked a lot and became aggressive with kids over time, as they taunted him, threw rocks at him and would even jump the fence and enter his yard. Neighbors also report that it has gotten out before and attacked another child.
Maria Cachus watched the rescue mission from her apartment window. She spoke to the injured boy, who told her what had happened with the day and that he was looking for his friend.
Bullmastiffs are not bad dogs, as a whole. They can be loyal and friendly when given the proper training. They are strong, powerful dogs and make good guard dogs. A dog of this size also requires a lot of exercise though, which Trigger was not getting. The dog attack is a reminder to not approach an unleashed dog or taunt them in any way. It is still unclear what caused the dog to attack the boys and if they had said or done anything to anger him.
Meanwhile, the family who lost their teenager took to Twitter to remember the kind of person he was and share how much he is missed. He is remembered as an angel.
Clarke is being interviewed, but no charges have been made at this time. An autopsy is being done today to determine the exact cause of the boy’s death. The dog’s body has been taken to the state Department of Health to be tested for rabies. Both families of the teenage boys plan to sue Clarke over the dog attack. They seek criminal charges for the loss of Santillan and the injuries of the other boy, who may have permanent nerve damage.
By Tracy Rose