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KODAK (WATE) - A four-year-old Kodak boy was severely injured Wednesday night when he was mauled by his family's dog.
The attack on Wyatt Wilcoxson was reported around 8:30 p.m. at his family's home on Kentwood Drive.
The Sevier County Sheriff's Office said the family's 11-year-old Rottweiler named "Moose" attacked the boy while he was outside playing with a ball.
The boy's mother and grandfather were with him when the dog attacked and pulled it off him. He was flown to UT Medical Center for treatment.
Sheriff's Capt. Michael Hodges described Wyatt's injuries as serious. "Head to toe he was injured," he said. "He had approximately 20 staples in his head and neck area, some serious damage to his right ear, the child's eyelid was torn. The ear and eyelid had to be re-attached. He also had puncture wounds about the legs, arms, back area and stomach area."
"You shudder to think if they hadn't been able to get there quick, what possibly could have happened," said the patrol commander. "I know it frightened all concerned, to include our department. At this point, our thoughts and prayers remain with the family, and especially little Wyatt."
The family told the sheriff's office they had the dog from the time it was six weeks old, and they had never seen it behave aggressively before. They said they didn't know why it attacked Wyatt.
Hodges described Wyatt's parents and grandparents as responsible pet owners. "From talking to all of them, there's no way on Earth that they would have put that child in harm's way if they had known anything like that was possible," he said. "But at the end of the day, we're talking about an animal, and who knows what triggers the different behaviors that we see in them."
The dog was euthanized Thursday morning, at the family's request.