VIDEO WARNING: Some of these pictures are graphic.
A 4-year-old boy is back home from the hospital tonight after police say he was attacked by a dog in Mercer County.
Police say they believe it happened by mistake.
Police say Monday night’s gathering was routine for two families in New Boston, Illinois.
Until, one family’s leashed dog attacked Cleighton Brandon (4).
Cleighton was rushed to a hospital in Iowa City, where doctors repaired cuts and gashes to Cleighton’s face and neck.
New Boston Police Chief, Mike Defrieze, says it happened at an outdoor gathering, the dog in question was on a leash, and he believes the attack was an isolated incident.
So far, police haven’t filed any charges.
New Boston leash laws require a dog to be leashed at all times.
Karen Bedford has been the city clerk for 5 years.
“It protects you as a dog owner, and a home owner,” Bedford said. “And, it protects your dog from getting hurt or whatever, but the most important thing is that it protects the public.”
Bedford owns a golden lab and a golden retriever mix.
“Dogs are animals and you think you can trust them and sometimes you can’t,” Bedford continued. “We see a lot of people with golf carts and things like that and the dog will be beside him but not on a leash and you don’t know what may startle that dog.”
This was not the case during Monday night’s attack, according to police.
The chief says neighbors reported the boy and the dog were minding their own business before the attack.
A dog mauling similar to one Bedford remembers from three years ago.
“That was another little boy and apparently they don’t know what set that dog off either and it did some damage to him too,” she explained, “and it was a family-owned dog that they thought they could trust so you just don’t know.”
The New Boston leash law states the dog’s leash must not exceed three feet.
Police would not say how long the leash was in Monday night’s case.
Investigators say there are no prior reports on this dog and its shots were all up to date.
“People should pay more attention to them and follow it and I think they should be enforced a little more,” the city clerk concluded.
Cleighton’s home recovering. His family says he will likely need plastic surgery.
Police say the dog has been “confined” to it’s owner.
That means the animal must be with it’s owner in an escape-proof building or enclosure and must stay away from the public.
The attack remains under investigation. Police have not released the name of the dog’s owner.