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Child killed by wolf-dog hybrid

Child killed by wolf-dog hybrid

Animal tears boy’s jugular vein, bites him 100s of times

Jonathan Brunt
The Idaho Statesman

A 13-month-old boy died early Sunday after a wolf-dog hybrid bit him and tore the baby´s jugular vein at a Boise home.

Andre Angel Thomas was bitten by the animal “hundreds” of times at the Frederic Street home, Boise Police Detective Dale Rogers said. The baby´s mother, Starla Thomas, had been invited there by Brandon Jenkins, 28, who moved into the residence Saturday.

Police were called to the scene about 3:20 a.m. Sunday after Jenkins awoke to go to the bathroom and found the baby on the floor. He said he tried to give the baby CPR as he was instructed by a 911 operator, but it was no use.

Andre was unconscious when police arrived. He later was declared dead at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.

Ada County Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg said the incident is the first death that he can remember from a mauling by a dog since he became coroner in 1985.

No charges have been filed in the incident, but the investigation is continuing. If charges are filed, they likely would be related to child neglect, Rogers said.

Idaho Humane Society spokeswoman Dee Fugit said wolf-dog hybrids can be friendly, but they are much more unpredictable than other dogs. The society kills wolf-dog hybrids rather than adopting them to other families.

“It is basically a wild animal in a dog´s body,” she said.

Jenkins lives at the home with the wolf-dog hybrid´s owner, Thomas Cleverly, 25.

Detective Rogers said Cleverly had owned the 1 1/2 -year-old hybrid, named Koa, since she was 3 months old. Monday, Cleverly gave ownership of Koa to the Idaho Humane Society, which plans to kill her today.

Jenkins said he recently met Thomas and invited her to the house to watch the NBA playoffs and for a barbecue. She came there with two friends and her baby. After the game was over, the friends left, but Thomas and the baby stayed.

Police said Thomas told them that she put her baby to sleep on a couch at about 11 p.m.

Jenkins said he thought he put Koa in the back yard and chained her before he went to bed but said he couldn´t be certain.

Given the nature of the attack, it is unusual that no one in the house awoke earlier, Rogers said. Police said the bites occurred between 12:15 and 3:20 a.m.

Jenkins admitted Monday that marijuana was used during the evening. He called using the drug a “lack of judgment” but said there wasn´t much smoked and that it did not prevent him and Thomas from waking earlier.

“There was not even enough to get any benefits from it,” he said.

Jenkins said he had six or seven beers and Thomas had less than one. He added that he was uncertain whether Thomas smoked any marijuana.

Earlier this month, Jenkins was issued a misdemeanor citation for smoking marijuana inside a parked car.

Sunday was not the first time Koa had been accused of biting a person.

Fugit said that in November, Koa was ordered into home confinement for 10 days after she bit a 7-year-old boy.

In December, the society issued Cleverly a warning after Koa was reported to have escaped from her yard.

Jenkins said Sunday´s incident came as a shock because Koa was good-natured.

Roman Greaves, who lives a few doors down from Cleverly, said Koa and another dog at the residence seemed calm.

“I just never thought they were aggressive dogs,” he said.

Fugit said it´s impossible to know why Koa bit the baby.

“It´s hard to comment on what might have been going on in the dog´s mind,” Fugit said.

Members of the baby´s family declined to comment Monday, a funeral home official said.

A service for Andre Angel Thomas will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Summers Funeral Home in Mountain Home. He is survived by his mother and his father, Raul Lopez.