Pit bull euthanized after biting a 5-year-old child in the face in Aurora

A child in Aurora was bitten in the face by a pit bull on Sunday, a dog that was adopted through the city’s animal shelter recently after City Council repealed a ban on pit bulls in January.

The dog, named Cotto by his adoptive family, has been euthanized, according to an email apprising the mayor and City Council about the attack.

On Sunday, an Aurora police officer was flagged by the driver of a pickup truck, Austin Chavez, 24, who asked for an escort to the Medical Center of Aurora, according to a police report. The injured child was in the truck. Chavez had adopted the dog, known as Malone at the shelter, on Feb. 27.

Cotto, a 2-year-old weighing 58 pounds, is one of three pit bulls adopted out by the city since the ban was repealed, according to case documents. The dog was current on rabies vaccination. The adoption cost Chavez was $165. The city’s new pit bull ordinance became effective Feb. 14.

“Our thoughts are with the victim and his family, and we hope for a full recovery,” said Ryan Luby, a city spokesman, in a written statement. “The Aurora Animal Shelter uses the nationally recognized SAFER evaluation to assess dogs’ suitability for adoption, gauging an animal’s reaction to various encounters and stimuli such as food, toys and interactions. While this behavioral assessment is an effective tool, no assessment can be a predictor of animal behavior in all situations and circumstances.”

People who adopt shelter animals in Aurora sign a standard agreement acknowledging risk, according to the city’s statement.

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Chavez declined comment Wednesday afternoon.

The 5-year-old victim was visiting a home in the 900 block of South Dearborn Way, playing a video game, when he was bit in an “unprovoked attack,” according to the city.

The child victim suffered a bite mark spanning the entire width of his face. A follow-up examination has been scheduled with a physician for a right eye exam.

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