Fatal Dog Attacks
Clovis boy dies in dog attack
6-year-old kindergartner found with multiple bites.
By Marc Benjamin / The Fresno Bee
Published 01/03/05 00:00:00
A 6-year-old boy died Sunday afternoon after being attacked by at least one dog near his home east of Clovis.
The boy, identified by neighbors as Tyler Babcock, had not been seen for at least 30 minutes before he was found unconscious in a pasture at the rear of a home in the 5100 block of North Leonard Avenue, just north of Shaw Avenue.
Tyler, who attended kindergarten at Cedarwood Elementary in Clovis, was missing from the rural home in a neighborhood where residents live on at least 2.5-acre patches of land. Neighbors helped search for him after his father, Matt Babcock, said he could not find his son, neighbor Donna Hanner said.
Another neighbor discovered Tyler in tall grass about 2 p.m., suffering from several bite wounds, possibly from more than one dog.
Hanner, who stayed with Tyler as paramedics were arriving, described the most severe injuries as being to the back of the boy's head. She said his clothing had been torn off.
"He partially had a sock on him," she said. "The worst of his wounds were to his head, his scalp and his ear.…The wounds seemed to be deep."
She said Tyler also had wounds to the back of his calf and wrist.
Tyler squeezed her hand while she tried to comfort him until paramedics arrived, she said.
"We were trying to make him aware of what was going on," Hanner said. "He was trying to move his legs."
A medical helicopter landed in a pasture behind the home to airlift the youngster to Children's Hospital Central California in Madera County, where he died Sunday afternoon, sheriff's Sgt. Bob Moore said.
Hanner said Tyler was found on the property of neighbors who own three large dogs. Two appear to be pit bulls, and a third is a large mixed-breed, she said. She said the same neighbors have two smaller dogs.
Hanner said the three larger dogs frequently roam free, and one just had a litter of puppies.
"When we yell at them to go away, they would go away," she said.
Hanner's husband, Ken Hanner, said the dogs had backed Tyler against the fence of his family's home once before.
The owners of those dogs could not be reached to comment Sunday.
The Central California Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took the three large dogs pending an investigation, Fresno County sheriff's Lt. Mark Padilla said.
Moore said no charges have been filed against the owners of the dogs. He said the Sheriff's Department will not know which dogs were involved in the attack until after an autopsy has been completed.
He said there is no indication of "criminality" at this point in the investigation.
"It can run anywhere from being a tragic accident to who knows," Moore said. "It's way too early to start making snap judgments."
© 2005, The Fresno Bee
The Fresno Bee and the Clovis Independent News
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letter to the News. by; Newell P. Knudson, Clovis
must take steps against vicious dogs