UPDATE: Howard County Toddler Recovers from Dog Bites
HOWARD COUNTY - Three-year-old Kain Studley received his fourth rabies shot Wednesday morning at MU Health Care's Urgent Care Clinic. The boy will need six shots to prevent him from contracting the disease after a neighbor's dog bit his face on October 12. The dog had not been vaccinated against rabies.
"He might have to undergo more surgeries in the future," Kain's aunt Jennifer Mathews said. "He will have some scarring. We're not sure how his two eye socket fractures will affect his growth. We won't be able to tell the extent of that damage for a few years."
Despite those worries, Kain's mother Sara Woods said that he is doing much better. "He was very cranky--not himself. Now he's back to normal and playing," Woods said.
Mathews and Woods want the dog that attacked the boy to be put to sleep. The Howard County Sheriff's department said there must be two attack reports filed against the same dog for the prosecutor to file criminal charges against the dog's owners.
The sheriff's department also said past reports are hard to find. The department would have to look up all records by hand. "We don't have the technology to pull up that address and find what reports we've had over the years. We need a basic time frame to go back and pull up that case file," Sheriff Charlie Polson said.
According to Missouri Statute 578.024, the dog's owners could be charged with a felony if the dog bites "a person or domestic animal" in a second offense. This applies if both attacks resulted in "serious injury."
A former Howard County resident plans to file a report Thursday about a past attack by the dog. Rodney Lee says the white German Shepherd killed his small dog last year. "I think it's Howard County's fault more than anyone else's that this dog has not been put down," Lee said.
Kain's family hopes this report will serve as the second attack needed for the dog's owners to face felony charges.
"The county doesn't have a leash law for dogs running at large," Polson said. "That's why people live out in the county, so their dogs can run free."
"I hope they get the laws changed to where there are dog ordinances out in the country," Woods said. "I don't want this to happen to any other little kid."
The sheriff's department maintains that anyone has the right to shoot a dog if it is attacking a person or animal on their property.