IDAHO -- A four-year-old boy is recovering Monday night after he was attacked by a pit bull Sunday afternoon.
The boy is currently in his mother's custody and was living with her. The pit bull was owned by the mother's boyfriend.
The attack happened just off Highway 30 in a camper home next to the Idaho Salvage Pool. Greg Hamann, the boy's father, said his son went into the kitchen to talk to his mom. That's when the pit bull attacked. Hamann said they don't know why the dog would have attacked.
Now his son has a lot of healing to do. The attack damaged two of the boy's facial nerves, which control movements, like smiling. Other wounds damaged the spit glands, the upper lip and below one eye.
It took surgeons six and a half hours of surgery to repair the damage. Hamann said there were so many stitches no one could even get an exact count, but he said there's more than 1,000. He said his son will not only have a long to recovery physically, but emotionally.
"He's going to have to do a lot of counseling because he's going to be terrified," Hamann said. "A poor four-year-old don't know what's going on when something like that happens. So it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of counseling, a lot of love."
Hamann said the surgeon told him they were able to repair the damage, but they don't know if his son would ever get full functionality back. It will take at least three to six months and more surgery before they will know. The boy won't be able to use the side of his face that was attacked for at least those three to six months. Hamann said the surgeon told him it was one of the worst cases he'd seen and he said no matter what, there was going to be a big scar.
"That scar is going to be there for the rest of his life," Hamann said. "And he's going to have to deal with people looking at him differently because of it, especially if he never gets his nerves back to be able to smile."
Hamann said he doesn't blame anyone, he understands accidents happen. But he hopes his son's tragedy can raise awareness to people about the importance of training dogs to be loving and to be around kids.
"Train your dogs to be nice dogs," he said. "To be loving dogs. We don't need any of that tough, pit bull persona. Ninety percent of people who get those dogs are trying to collect that image of being tough."
The pit bull is currently under quarantine at the Pocatello Animal Shelter. It will be there for 10 days, after which it will be released back to the owner. Hamann said the owner told him he plans to euthanize the dog.
As for the little boy, he was released from the hospital Monday afternoon around 1 p.m. Since his mother has custody, he went home with her.
Hamann said he's grateful his son is alive and he just hopes he can recover with time.
(Local News 8 - Dec 5, 2016)