HANOVER TWP. — Two-year-old Hayden Davis is back home following emergency surgery after a dog mauled his arm through a fence at Wilkes-Barre’s Hollenback Dog Park on Tuesday night.
Hayden’s mother, Katelyn Davis, said her son is doing much better but faces a long recovery. The dog, described as a Husky, bit into Hayden’s upper right arm and tore muscles, she said.
Wilkes-Barre police are looking for the dog’s owner in connection with the incident.
Davis said she was with her sister when they took their children to Hollenback Park Playground, which is adjacent to the dog park’s enclosed, fenced area, at about 6 p.m.
“My son absolutely loves dogs,” Davis said. “When we pulled in, there was nobody in the dog park but there were large dogs running around.
“My son got close to the dog park and I yelled at him not to get too close. He saw a dog and the dog just grabbed a hold of him. I ran over and my sister screamed at the dog and two people passing jumped over the fence trying to get this dog off my son,” Davis said.
Travis Pecorino, of Wilkes-Barre, was one of the two men who helped Hayden.
Pecorino said he was walking past the dog park on his way to the nearby Turkey Hill store when he saw what happened.
“It looked like the dog was playing with a ball but as I got closer, it wasn’t a ball but the little boy’s arm,” Pecorino said. “I saw the dog tugging on his arm. The dog kept pulling back and the dog’s owner did absolutely nothing.”
Pecorino said he climbed over the 6-foot-high fence into the enclosed area to get the dog from stop mauling at the boy.
“I went to separate the dog from the boy and the other guy was helping the boy,” Pecorino said. “When I jumped over, the dog looked at me and ran away from the boy. It was a horrible scene that lasted two to three minutes.”
Davis and Pecorino said the dog’s owner had three dogs at the park. After the boy was bitten, they said the owner gathered his three dogs and left in a silver sedan.
City police described the dog’s owner as a heavyset white man with heavy black curly hair, and the dog that bit the boy was a Husky-type canine.
When asked if the city was liable for the child’s injuries suffered at the dog park, city Administrator Ted Wampole said: “Potentially, because it’s city property.”
He referred further questions to city Attorney Tim Henry, who did not return a message.
‘Much better but in pain’
Davis said she drove her son to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, where Hayden underwent emergency surgery on his arm. He was released early Wednesday.
“He’s doing much better but in a lot of pain,” she said.
Davis said she is upset that the dog’s owner had his large dogs in an enclosed area of the park designated for small dogs. Another enclosed area is for large dogs.
Aggressive dogs are not permitted at the park, according to signs at the dog park.
“This happened at the area for small dogs but this owner had his large dogs in the area for small dogs and the owner was nowhere to be found,” Davis said. “It didn’t click what was happening until I got to my son. I thought he was reaching in to pet the dog but the dog was pulling on his arm through the fence.”
Pecorino said the dog’s owner didn’t try to help.
“He had no intention on helping to pull his dog off the boy,” Pecorino said. “All he said was he had a license for the dog and that it was the kid’s fault.”
Jerry Lynott, staff writer, contributed to this report.