Springfield, IL – 10-year-old girl mauled by Great Dane remains hospitalized (4/21/15) 2

Girl mauled by dog

IMG_2465.19621.widea.0Charges mulled

By Bruce Rushton – 4/21/15

A 10-year-old girl mauled by a dog more than a week ago at a home on the western outskirts of Springfield remains hospitalized as the Sangamon County state’s attorney’s office and the state Department of Child and Family Services conduct investigations.

“We are investigating the child’s father and his wife for allegations of neglect,” said Andrew Flach, DCFS spokesman.

Flach said that the department has determined that the dog that attacked the girl had previously bitten a child, but he did not know when or where. He said that DCFS is investigating whether adults improperly allowed the dog to come into contact with the girl who was mauled.

“We’ve had no prior contact with this family,” Flach said.

The dog, described as a Great Dane named Merlin in the animal control center report, also attacked a sheriff’s deputy who was trying to subdue it with the help of a Taser and an animal control employee who used a pole snare in an attempt to control the animal by its neck.

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Authorities weighing charges in case of 10-year-old mauled by dog

By John Reynolds, Staff Writer – Posted Apr. 22, 2015 at 9:50 PM

Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Milhiser said no decision has been made on whether criminal charges will be filed in connection with a dog attack that left a 10-year-old girl seriously injured.

During the investigation of the mauling, which was first reported in the Illinois Times, the 10-year-old’s 15-year-old sister told deputies that she had been bitten by the dog two months earlier on the shoulder and arm. That incident was not reported, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The stepfather of the girls described the dog as “mean and vicious” and said that only his wife could control him.

Greg Largent, director of the Sangamon County Animal Control Center, said tests indicated that the dog did not have rabies. He added that animal control had not been called to the home before the April 11 incident.

The sheriff’s office forwarded reports to Milhiser and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which indicated they would be opening a case.

Milhiser said he would decide whether criminal charges are warranted after he receives additional reports.

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Great Dane

Great Dane 1The original Great Dane was thought to be of English Mastiff and Irish Wolfhound ancestry and was bred to hunt bear and wild boar, able to kill these animals independently of any human hunter. They were often provided with thick linen coats to protect their bodies in these battles; the ears were cropped for the same reason. The Great Dane excelled as an estate guard dog. They were later selectively crossbred to include the genetics of the greyhound to create today’s “Great Dane” that we see. In Germany, the breed is referred to as Deutsche Dogge.

The Great Dane in 1879, its molosser / mastiff origins clearly visible:

Great Danes can do well with older children if raised with them from an early age. Generally, they love to be around their familiar people and thrive on affection. They are loyal and dependable companions. They must be socialized at an early age to help deter unwanted behaviors such as fearfulness or aggression. Because of their genetics, even well socialized Great Danes may display unwanted fierceness other undesirable behaviors.

Great Danes make excellent watch dogs and will bark to alert to danger. Otherwise they tend to be very quiet dogs. They can do well with strangers if properly introduced and are obedience trained. Due to their size, interactions should be monitored and observed with unfamiliar guests and arrivals. It is important to start obedience training early in puppyhood. They grow very quickly and can easily become unmanageable well before they are full grown. It is important for owners to be gentle but at the same time confident and consistent with their training to help them maintain control.

In North America, from 1982-2014, Great Danes have been responsible for 37 serious attacks on humans that resulted in 19 maimings and 3 fatalities. They can be potentially dangerous due to their breed history, size, and strength.

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This is a list of dog breeds that have a history of being potentially dangerous to people, especially children. Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education and Awareness understands that any dog has the ability to bite or inflict serious harm to humans. This list consists of several dog breeds that have a higher than average number of recorded human fatalities. Please use extreme caution if you choose to bring one of these breeds into your home. Rental communities and homeowners insurance may restrict many of the dog breeds on this list due to the likelihood of a serious incident.

Pit Bulls, Mastiff, and Rottweiler lead in fatalities and are listed first. The rest of the breeds are listed in alphabetical order:

potentially-dangerous-dog-300x300Pit Bull Terrier Family





Alaskan Malamute

Chow Chow

Doberman Pinscher

German Shepherd

Shar Pei

Siberian Husky

Wolf Hybrid

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2 thoughts on “Springfield, IL – 10-year-old girl mauled by Great Dane remains hospitalized (4/21/15)

  • Leigh

    I have heard from many different experts in the dog world, that mantles are the most dangerous great dane. The picture about shows a mantle. My mom and best friend have had what they thought was black and while spotted, and there were severe aggression issues. Investigation turned up the mother was a mantle. Our local pet store actually turned the breeder in, for the constant puppy purchaser coming in looking for assistance with aggression. The breeder has been shut down. Don’t know how color factors in, but it does.

    • Marleen

      When breeders (puppy mill or backyard) carelessly breed Mother/Father/Sister/Brother with each other THIS is the legacy. Dogs who are not “right” in their brains. They are not supposed to be interbred anymore than humans. Interbreeding which is caused by breeding for money has destroyed every breed.

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