SIERRA VISTA, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A nine-year-old Sierra Vista boy is recovering in the hospital after being attacked by several dogs at his home Wednesday.
The Sierra Vista Police Department responded to the area of Oriole Drive and El Camino Real around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday after a passerby spotted the young boy being attacked by several dogs through a fence.
The SVPD said when officers arrived, three large Mastiff-type dogs were attacking the boy, who was on the ground near a gate.
Sergeant Brian Sebastian, SVPD Spokesman, said one officer deployed two taser cartridges from behind the fence, tasing two of the dogs to get them away from the boy.
“Officers on scene made a decision within a minute or two that they needed to get in there, they needed to rescue this child from the yard. He made the decision to shoot the dogs from outside the yard so they can get in safely," said Sgt. Sebastian.
A total of 17 shots were fired, nine from pistols and eight from rifles. Sgt. Sebastian said the three dogs involved in the attack were killed. A fourth dog was shot and killed within the yard when it appeared to charge at an officer.
“We are deeply saddened by the need to kill four dogs involved in this incident, but understand that our officers did not take these actions lightly,” Sgt. Sebastian said in a press release.
“They got there quickly, they made timely, courageous decisions. We think that both that citizen passing by and our officers arriving quickly probably saved this child’s life," said Sgt. Sebastian.
The boy, who has not been identified, was transported to a local hospital in stable condition. Sgt. Sebastian said the boy has been transported to a hospital in Tucson due to the complexity of the injuries. He said the boy was conscious and talking to officers after the incident.
Upon initial evaluation, he was severely bitten, received puncture wounds and had several bruises.
“It shocked me, and I didn’t even know they had a child," said Erik Sundius, a neighbor who lives behind the home surrounded by law enforcement Wednesday.
Sundius shares a back alley with the home, where he often encountered the barking dogs through a gate while working in the backyard.
“Lots and lots and lots of barking," said Sundius. “Loud and aggressive and I looked through the gate and I counted at least eight, although I understand there was more.”
According to Sierra Vista Animal Control Code, there is not a limit on how many animals someone can have at their home, but those animals must be licensed. Sgt. Sebastian said Thursday is appeared appeared all the dogs on the property did have proper registration.
The Sierra Vista Special Operations Bureau and child services are investigating.