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He Fought His Heart Out
He Fought His Heart Out
by Sarah Okeson

PEORIA - A 120-pound Rottweiler attacked an 8-year-old Peoria boy Tuesday, leaving a trail of blood as it dragged the child to a rear bedroom and mauled him.

The attack ended only after city policeman Fred Fallert shot the dog to death about 4:15 p.m. as it continued to bite the 80-pound child at the home of the boy’s cousin, Renee Davis, 2005 W. Kettelle St.

Henry Jones of 2701 W. Lincoln Ave. was in surgery at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center on Tuesday night. Officials said the boy was bitten repeatedly on the arms and hands as he tried to fend off the dog’s attack. He also was bitten on the left ankle and foot and may have suffered a fractured left arm.

"The dog had ahold of him and wouldn’t let go," said Fire Battalion Chief Jim Anderson. "There was a trail of blood from the door back to the bedroom."

The child told firefighters he didn’t do anything to provoke the dog.

"He was hurting quite a bit," said Fire Capt. Gary Norbom. "He wasn’t talking a whole lot. He said the dog just went hysterical."

The dog’s owner, George Nichols, could face charges because of the attack, said Lauren Malmberg, director of the Peoria Animal Welfare Shelter. She said Nichols doesn’t live at the house, although the dog apparently did.

Police also were investigating why there were apparently no adults at the house when the boy was attacked. Neighbors said the boy and some girls were the only ones at the home.

A policeman who came out of the modest South Side house with blood on his shoes said the walls and floor were covered in blood from the attack.

"It looked like a bomb went off in the house with all the blood," firefighter Norbom said. "That boy will have a lot of medical care in the next couple weeks."

Firefighters said the child showed signs of blood loss, complaining of being cold and thirsty, but was conscious and able to talk all the way to the hospital.

"He was a brave little boy," Norbom said. "He fought his heart out trying to keep that dog off his face and neck because that’s what Rottweilers usually go for."

Malmberg said the dog’s body will be tested for rabies today, though the dog had been registered and vaccinated. She didn’t know if there were any previous complaints about the dog, named Prince, but neighbors said it was usually well-behaved.

"Prince is usually a good dog," said neighbor Angenette Bush. "My kids have been out here and played, and Prince didn’t bother them."

A study released this year found that Rottweilers have passed pit bulls as America’s deadliest dog breed.

The dogs, which first were bred in Germany, surged in popularity during the 1990s as people bought them for protection.

In August, a pit bull mauled a 12-year-old Peoria girl. Officials said the girl probably will require plastic surgery to her face.

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