CLEARWATER, Fla. — A 3-year-old boy is recovering at the hospital after he was allegedly attacked by a dog. Officials with Animal Services are trying to find the dog and its owner.
"This has really been overwhelming. Nobody ever really prepares themselves for something like this," said Mersadis Tuttle, the child's mother.
Mersadis Tuttle said that last Wednesday, her son was with his grandmother outside RCS Food Bank in Clearwater when a dog came up to him. The dog licked the child's face and then attacked, the mother says.
"My mom called me and said he had been bit by a dog in the face and that's all she really could get out," said Tuttle.
Doctors and nurses at Tampa General are taking care of her son, Payton. His eyes are swollen and he needed more than a dozen stitches.
"The dog was on a leash, but the leash was not being held by the owner. The dog came up to him, licked him and then snapped him in the face in the same instance," said Tuttle.
Officials with Pinellas County Animal Services said if they locate the animal, they will impound it for 10 days to determine if it has rabies. They will also start an investigation to see if the dog is dangerous.
"The hardest part for me is someone could allow their dog to do this and not take responsibility," said Tuttle.
Animal Services said animal control officers have searched the area each day following the dog attack, but have not been able to locate the dog or its owner.