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Dog that killed 1-year-old is saved, at least for now

Dog that killed 1-year-old is saved, at least for now

By Rikki Cheese. CREATED May 8, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Onion, the Mastiff-Rhodesian Ridgeback mix who killed his owner's one-year-old son late last month, has been spared from being euthanized. At least for now.

The dog was scheduled to be euthanized by Henderson Animal Control on Tuesday, but a rescue group that wants to move him to an animal sanctuary in Colorado obtained a restraining order on Monday.

The fatal incident involving the dog and the child has raised strong emotions across the valley.

Melanie Leary, like many, has strong feelings about what happened.

"It's tragic, and the whole thing is understandable," Leary said.

Leary owns Vegas K9 Adventures. She raises German Shepherds and trains big dogs, including Pit Bulls, Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes at the Smarty Paws facility on North Rancho.

She has been been following Onion's story closely; the beloved, 6-year-old family pet who nursed a grandmother through a bout with cancer; the dog who attacked after being tugged by a toddler.

She doesn't think the family should be blamed for the attack that happened in front of the boy's grandmother.

"The family had the child and the dog for well over a year," Leary said. "They brought them together. They supervised the two of them together. I would think, in that situation, everything would be fine. I would let my guard down."

It's a rare situation for Henderson Animal Control. A Henderson spokesman says that out of 135 dogs euthanized here over the months of March and April, none were deemed vicious.

Leary says training is key to raising children with dogs and being responsible guardians for both. She feels Onion's life should be spared.

"If he's going to be given a home or a place to live where he doesn't have that situation in his face all the time, then, yeah, he should be allowed to live."

Rikki Cheese

Rikki Cheese

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Rikki Cheese is currently an anchor and reporter for Action News.