Christopher Spencer, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette March 30, 2001, Friday Copyright 2001 Little Rock Newspapers, Inc. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette March 30, 2001, Friday
(CLARENDON, Ark.) - A drug dog belonging to a Monroe County deputy bit an 11-year-old boy several times in the arms and legs, setting off an investigation by police.
Clay Sain "is feeling better," his mother, Tanya Caldwell, said Wednesday. He is recovering at their home in Clarendon from about six puncture wounds he received March 22 while playing at the home of Lt. Randy Julian.
Clay was visiting Julian's sons, ages 8 and 10, and the boys were playing basketball together shortly before the dog attack, Clarendon Police Chief Richard Davenport said.
His department has been investigating the case and was expected to give the information to Monroe County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Baxter Sharp today. Sharp will determine whether charges will be filed in the case.
The family, through Little Rock attorney Skip Davidson, contends that the sheriff's office was negligent in its use and care of Samson, the agency's drug dog.
Davidson said the dog has shown aggressive behavior in the past, including biting one sheriff's deputy. He also said the animal was kept inside an unlocked chainlink fence.
Davenport said Samson has long been the Julian family's pet and plays with the officer's three children. The dog is often kept inside the family's home, he added.
Samson's aggressiveness was "out of character for the dog," Davenport said Wednesday.
Before the attack, the boys were playing basketball, but Samson's barking was distracting them. The dog became agitated while the boys were playing, Davenport said, and Julian's 10-year-old son went inside the house to ask his 16-year-old sister to put the dog inside so they could play without distraction.
When the girl came outside, the boys had disappeared around a corner. She looked around, and seeing no one, let Samson trot out of his pen without a leash, Davenport said.
Clay, who was coming up the driveway, saw the dog running toward him and turned around, running and screaming, Davenport said.
The dog caught him and began biting, he said.
"There's little doubt in any of our heads that if he had stood still and patted the dog's head, everything would have been fine. But you can't blame an 11-year-old kid for panicking. We're all just upset about this," Davenport said. While the case is being investigated, Samson is being held in White County for observation, he said.