UPDATE Pit bull that attacked boy found dead in river bedPosted: Updated:
EL MIRAGE -- A dog that attacked a 3-year-old and his father in El Mirage Sunday night was found dead in the Agua Fria river bed Tuesday morning.
Pit bull attacks boy
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According to the El Mirage Police Department, the family was visiting friends near 115th Avenue and Columbine Drive, which is near Cactus Road, Sunday night. They were in the backyard when a white pit bull with a brown collar apparently entered through a partially opened gate.
The dog grabbed 3-year-old Ismael Ortega by the back of his head, according to Assistant Police Chief William Louis. He was also bitten on his thumb.
"The baby started just walking towards me and the dog just launched at him from the back and cut a big old piece out of his head," said Christina Ortega, Ismael's mother.
The boy's father, Camilo Ortega, was bitten while freeing him from the dog's grasp. The dog ran away southbound on 115th Avenue.
Neighbors told officers that a similar-looking dog had been seen roaming 115th Avenue recently in the mornings. Other neighbors indicated that the dog may be living in the nearby Agua Fria River bed.
Ismael received numerous stitches for a "lemon-sized" flap of scalp torn at the back of his head.
Camilo Ortega received puncture wounds to his left forearm and cuts to his forehead.
The boy and his father are undergoing rabies treatment shots as a precaution.
According to Louis, on Tuesday morning a Maricopa County Rabies Animal Control officer found a dead pit bull in the Agua Fria river bed, not far from the location of the attack.
Christina Ortega identified the dog as the same one that attacked her son.
The animal control officer took the animal to their facility for rabies testing.
The manner in which the dog died is still under investigation by the El Mirage Police Department, however, Louis said it appears to have been shot.