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Animal Rights Activists Petition Judge to Send Toddler-Killing Dog to Sanctuary Instead of Euthanizing It


"I feel like I'm in a zombie state."

The fate of "Onion" a 6-year-old mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix will be decided on Friday. Onion recently mauled a toddler to death in Henderson, Nev., but animal rights activists are saying it wasn't a malicious act and they hope the dog will be allowed to live at an animal sanctuary for aggressive canines.

Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan was killed late last month when the 120-pound Onion reportedly attacked the 1-year-old as he was using the animal to help pull himself to his feet -- something he did regularly. The Las Vegas Review Journal has more on the incident:

He latched his jaws around the boy's head and began shaking him back and forth. Jeremiah's grandmother wasn't strong enough to pull the boy away. [Christopher] Shahan heard the commotion from upstairs and raced to rescue his son.

"I got the dog off the baby," he said. "I tried to save my baby."

The entire episode lasted about 30 seconds. It was long enough to break Jeremiah's neck and cause other unspeakable injuries, Shahan said.

Paramedics rushed to the home on Navarre Lane, near Arroyo Grande Boulevard. They took Jeremiah to St. Rose Dominican Hospital, Siena campus. He was then flown to the trauma unit at University Medical Center, where he died early Saturday morning.

"I feel like I'm in a zombie state," Shahan said Saturday evening while standing in front of his home in the otherwise quiet neighborhood.

Jeremiah "was the best thing I've ever had in my life. He was the best baby. He always smiled, always."

Watch the heartbroken father speak of the situation (Content Warning: Some strong language):

The dog should have been put down Tuesday according to Nevada state law, but the local Fox affiliate reports an animal rights group filed an injunction hours before Onion would have been euthanized:

"The dog didn't do anything," said Richard Rosenthal, co-founder of The Lexus Project. "This was not a vicious attack where the dog attempted to tear the child apart, and it's not a situation where the child was on the ground and the dog went over to him and attacked him."

The group has set up for the dog to be sent to an animal sanctuary in Colorado, instead of being euthanized.

"They're willing to take the dog, evaluate the dog and rehabilitate the dog," Rosenthal said. "The dog can stay there as long as need be, including the rest of his life, if it turns out there is an aggression issue."

Watch Fox's report with reactions from local residents about the fate of Onion:

Whether Onion will be put down or euthanized will be decided on Friday. First, the two parties will meet to discuss a settlement and if one can't be reached, the decision will go to district court Judge Joanna Kirshner.

[H/T Daily Mail]

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