Three dogs have been euthanized and their remains are being tested for rabies following a fatal attack on a 4-year-old.
Test results on the brains of the three dogs involved in the May 7 attack on a 4-year-old Camden boy show the animals were not rabid, according to Emily Knearl of the Delaware Division of Public Health.
Knearl reported the results at 9:15 a.m. Friday.
Detectives with the Delaware State Police are continuing their investigation into a pit bull attack that resulted in the death of a 4-year-old Camden boy.
The attack took place at approximately 4 p.m. May 7, as the boy, identified Kasii Haith, and his mother, Kyeisha Haith, 24, were visiting a female friend in the 900 block of Edwardsville Road, west of Felton, said division spokesman Master Cpl. Gary Fournier.
The women were inside the home while the boy was outside playing with the woman’s three pit bulls, Fournier said. The boy had been around the dogs numerous times in the past, he added.
At one point, the mother looked outside and saw the dogs attacking her son; the friend called 911 while she ran outside to try to save the boy.
Two HVAC repairmen working at the house also tried to help fend off the dogs using PVC pipe.
Emergency medical personnel and troopers arriving on the scene began first aid, but the boy was pronounced dead.
Dogs’ brains tested for rabies
The boy’s body was released to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who early Thursday afternoon ruled the manner of death as being multiple dog bites to the head and neck.
The boy’s mother, who is pregnant, was admitted to Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital, where she under observation and for treatment of dog bites to both arms.
The dogs’ owner, whose identity has not been released, voluntarily surrendered the animals to Delaware Animal Care and Control.
The dogs were put down on Thursday morning, said DAC Chief Animal Control Officer Capt. Sherri Warburton. The DAC is in charge of animal control throughout the state, and works out of the First State Animal Control and SPCA shelter in Camden.
Her office was not able to confirm if the animals had current rabies inoculations, Warburton added.
The dogs’ brains were sent to the Delaware Public Health Laboratory at approximately noon Thursday for rabies testing, said Heidi Truschel, chief of community relations for the Division of Public Health.
Cerebellar and brain stem samples are tested for the rabies virus protein using a fluorescence microscope. Test results in this case should be known by 9:30 a.m. May 9, she said.
“Due to the mother who was attacked being pregnant, ensuring the dogs were not carrying the rabies virus is of the utmost importance,” Warburton said.
Rabies testing vital
A fourth dog who was at the scene of the attack, an 8-week-old puppy, was not involved in the attack and remains with its owner, Warburton said.
The oldest dog, a 5-year-old female, was apparently the mother of the male and other female dog. The younger female appeared to be pregnant, but that has yet to be confirmed, Warburton said.
None of the animals had been spayed or neutered, she said.
It is possible that either inbreeding or territorial factors brought on by the female’s pregnancy could have heightened the dogs’ inclination to attack the boy, Warburton said.
“You should never leave children unattended with animals,” she said. “It’s absolutely tragic that this incident occurred.”