A two year old boy is in the hospital recovering after being attacked by a dog. The toddler was airlifted to Kalispell Regional Medical Center with serious injuries, and he underwent surgery Wednesday.
The incident happened on Wednesday in Hungry Horse, when a neighbor’s Labrador/Hound mix bit the boy in the face. It happened behind closed doors.
The incident is still under investigation and it is still not clear why the dog attacked the boy.
NBC Montana found out there are ordinances in place to prevent attacks like this.
"Our animal control officers are very busy often times busier than our deputies and they're busy as well so it is a growing concern to us here in the Flathead," said Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry.
Curry says animal wardens respond to a large number of calls regarding vicious dogs and also dogs at large.
In a case like this, when a dog bites a person, there can be serious consequences.
"Anytime there’s a human bite we have to quarantine the dog for ten days, even if they're proven to be current on their rabies, just to make sure they don't develop symptoms," said Cliff Bennett, Flathead County Animal Shelter Director.
Bennett says dogs usually bite people because the animal was approached wrong, or was caught off guard. He also says the dogs who attack people aren’t always the most vicious looking.
"Some studies show that there’s more dog bites from Labrador Retrievers than any particular breed and that's probably because there’s a lot of Labrador Retrievers out there," said Bennett.
Once a dog does attack, to a certain extent, it could be legally considered a vicious dog.
“Kalispell has a vicious dog ordinance in place that a lot of people may not know about. If your dog has bitten someone or has attacked another dog, they've got remedies where you have to post the bond and have certain insurance levels and post a sign that you have a vicious dog," said Bennett.
It’s a case by case basis as to whether or not the animal shelter decides to put a dog down because of an attack. They don’t do it often in the Flathead. Last year, out of 1,100 dogs that came into the shelter only about 20 were euthanized.
“People just need to remember that dogs, we love them but they’re an animal. You just can’t expect them to act rationally and reasonably every minute of their life," Bennett said.
Even though this young boy was attacked behind closed doors, we’re told most attacks involve dogs running at large. That’s why Flathead County has an ordinance in place requiring dogs to be on leashes.