Owners must securely house the dog in the future

The owner of a pit bull that bit a 6-year-old Gresham boy earlier this week said animal control officials plan to release the dog on Friday, Aug. 10.

Jessica Samson said her dog - a brown 3-year-old male pit bull named Kailua - has been classified as a Level 4 dog. Such dogs must be kept in a secure enclosure like a kennel. They also must be leashed and muzzled when out for walks. Samson said she and her husband must also get a second secure door to stop the dog from running out when the front door opens.

Police say the dog was loose when it chased and bit Oscar Romero, 6, while the boy played in the parking lot at the Pine Square Apartments, 608 N.E. 178th Ave., at about 5:20 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1.

According to a police report, officers noted puncture wounds on the boy's left calf and right upper arm. The dog also bit a half-inch chunk of skin and tissue off the boy's right shoulder.

The boy was treated for his injuries and released from a local hospital. Multnomah County Animal Control seized the dog, which is being housed at a Troutdale animal shelter.

Animal control officials could not be reached for confirmation about the investigation's outcome.

Samson, who owns the dog with her husband, lives at the Village Court Apartments, 17851 N.E. Oregon St., which is around the corner from where the boy was bitten.

Her 14-year-old niece was babysitting Samson's 3-year-old daughter when the dog got out and bit the boy.

According to a police report, the babysitter told police that she thought the toddler let the dog out. When she went looking for the dog, she saw it chasing kids around an apartment complex parking lot.

'I had to hit the dog several times to get him to let go of the boy,' she reportedly told officers. 'I meant I had to hit the dog several times to keep him from chasing the kids.'

Officers noted that the dog, kept in a back bedroom, aggressively growled and barked at the bedroom door while officers were in the apartment. Concerned that the dog would attack someone else, an officer requested animal control officers come and take control of the dog.

The babysitter's 14-year-old cousin, who was there at the time, reportedly told police that they should wait outside until the dog was out of the bedroom.

'He might try to attack you if he sees you in the apartment,' the boy reportedly said.

It took both the babysitter and her cousin to walk the dog to a patrol car. Officers again noted that the dog continued to growl and bark at them.

The babysitter - Ebony Brown - said over the phone on Friday, Aug. 4, that the police report statement was incorrect.

'I didn't even know the dog had gotten out,' she said.

Brown said she was going to the store when she saw a dog that looked like Kailua in a nearby apartment complex parking lot. Seeing some boys swinging toys resembling plastic swords, Brown said it looked as if the dog was playing with the boys.

But the dog apparently became aggressive with one of the boys.

Brown said she hit the dog once and grabbed him by the harness to get him off the boy.

'I didn't even see him bite the little boy,' she said.

Samson can't understand why her dog, which her family bottle-fed as a puppy, would bite a child. He has never posed a threat to her own children and hasn't been aggressive toward other children, she said.

'The only thing I can think of is maybe he was trying to play with the kids,' Samson said.

Samson said the family allows the dog to run loose in parks and on playgrounds with no problems.

'He gets loose about twice a week and runs into the complex and the kids bring him home,' she added.

The victim said over the phone that he wasn't playing with any toys or with the dog when it attacked.

'He got me, and he bit me,' Oscar Romero said.

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