Bulldog Attacks 4-Year Old At PetSmart

Victim's Mom Says Dog Should Be Euthanized

Amy Sampson walked into a pet store with her daughters Audra and Lauren, to get a collar for their dog, but were instead attacked by someone else's.

Lauren Sampson, who just turned 5, is still recovering from lacerations and deep puncture wounds on her backside and pelvic area.

"They're itchy," Lauren said.

When asked about the attack, which happened Oct. 28, Lauren scrunched her face, shook her head, then buried her face against her mother.

"She doesn't like to talk about it," Amy Sampson said.

The attack happened at the PetSmart on South Colorado Boulevard, a store that allows customers to bring their pets inside.

"He lunged out and latched onto Lauren," said Amy Sampson, the victim's mom. "At first I was just in shock. I couldn't believe what was happening, then when I finally realized and gathered myself, I grabbed onto her and started pulling her."

"We have different accounts of exactly what happened," said Doug Kelley, director of Denver Animal Control. "The victim's mother said the dog bit without provocation. A witness said the victim startled the dog."

Kelley said the American bulldog, named Nemo, was on a leash inside the store.

Because it was Nemo's first recorded attack in Denver, he was put in quarantine for 10 days and will then be released.

The victim's mom said the dog should have been put to sleep.

"When I found out the dog hadn't been euthanized, I was appalled," Sampson said. "This dog didn't bite, it attacked and held on."

"If the dog bites again, the court makes a decision on the ultimate disposition of the dog, whether it's ordered muzzled in public, kept in a six-sided pen or destroyed."

The dog's owner, Amy Powell, was cited for the attack and is due in court next month. She declined comment.

Kelley, who has worked with animals for years, said it's wonderful that some stores allow pets inside. But he added that people need to realize the animals don't know everyone in the store.

He said extra precaution needs to be taken with kids.

"Every once in awhile, when I'm in a store like this, I'll see a child run up to someone else's dog. That gives me a little bit of a fright because you don't know how a dog is going to react to that kind of stimulation," he said.

Sampson said she intends to talk to store officials about their policy and will suggest that they have a plan in place to react in case something like this happens again.

Kelley said attacks in pet stores are rare.

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