Sara Straeten Reporting
Exclusive: 3-Year-Old Recovering After Dog Attack
June 13, 2006 06:06 AM EDT
A three-year-old boy is recovering in the hospital after a dog attacked him. What's surprising is the little boy was attacked by a common family dog, a golden retriever mix.
The boy's father spoke exclusively with Your Newschannel 3. He said his son is making an amazing recovery after a very serious attack.
Three-year-old Phillip Shifflett is alert and talking. But his wounds tell a scary story.
"This portion [the cheek] of the child was hanging on his shoulder, where I could literally see skeleton," said his father, Phillip Shifflett.
Last Tuesday, a golden retriever mix, named Trouble, attacked Phillip in his backyard. Phillip has known trouble his whole life, even lived in the same house.
"What we considered a friendly, tame household pet came close to killing my son," Shifflett said.
Phillip went outside to play, his father trailing just seconds behind. His dad said he didn't see what provoked Trouble, but saw the dog mauling his son.
"We grabbed the dog by his neck and threw him off the child, and scooped Phillip up," Shifflett said. When I picked the child up, the dog lunged back at us."
But Trouble had already torn off the little boy's cheek, biting him several times.
"He also tore off the facial nerve or the nerve that works the muscles of the face," said Dr. Richard Rosenblum, a pediatric plastic surgeon with CHKD. "So, Phillip is going to need a series of surgeries, not only cosmetic, but functionally to repair muscles, nerves and work on scars."
It took 300 stitches to repair the damage, and Dr. Rosenblum said Phillip was lucky not to lose his eye.
"Children always have to be watched, and you have to be hyper vigilant when your child is with any breed, even the family pet like this," Rosenblum said.
Phillip's dad wants parents to listen to that warning, too.
"They saved his life, and put him back together," Shifflett said. "I am fortunate. They next child may not be so lucky."
Phillip will have more tests Monday, and doctors said he could go home as early as tomorrow.
Phillip's dad said he is thankful for the doctors and staff at CHKD who acted quickly to save Phillip's life.
As for Trouble, he is still under quarantine with his owner. After the 10-day quarantine is over, police said Trouble will stay with his owner.