The dachshund that police said mauled and critically wounded an infant in St. Mary's County will be killed this week by lethal injection at the request of the child's family, an animal control official said yesterday.
Tony Malaspina, St. Mary's County animal control supervisor, said the mother of 6-week-old Andrew Tyler Meyers told him that she wanted her family pet dead. Her son suffered head, foot and leg injuries when the black-and-brown dachshund attacked him Dec. 15, Maryland State Police said.
The family's request dashed the hopes of several groups dedicated to dachshunds that wanted to find a home for the 4-year-old male. One group, Dachshund Rescue of North America, said it had families lining up to take the animal.
The groups contacted the Meyers family, Malaspina said, but adoption was not considered an option once it was determined that the dog was responsible for the attack. Yesterday, Malaspina said he would not permit a rescue.
"The animal was turned over to us, and our policy is if an animal has an attack like this one did, we're not going to adopt it out again," he said.
Andrew was in fair condition yesterday at Children's Hospital in Washington. He was brought to the hospital in critical condition, and at one point had stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated, authorities said.
Police said the dachshund chewed through Andrew's mesh playpen, dragged the child onto the floor and mauled his legs and feet. The boy's mother heard his cries from a baby monitor and rushed to the bedroom to find the dog attacking the boy, police said.
The boy's parents, Michael and Andrea Meyers, were unavailable for comment yesterday.
While acknowledging that dachshunds are not the best pets for small children, dachshund groups had expressed skepticism that the little dog was capable of extreme violence.
Last week, it seemed there was a chance they were right. The Meyers told state police late last week that they have another dog, a black Labrador retriever, and detectives investigated whether the larger dog was responsible for the mauling.
But yesterday, Trooper 1st Class Steven B. Koch said the infant's mother told him that the Labrador did not have access to the child.
Now, the dachshund awaits death in a cage at the Tri-County Animal Shelter in Hughesville. It is being kept away from other animals until animal control supervisors determine whether the dachshund has rabies.
When the time comes for the lethal injection, the dachshund will be taken to a room used to treat animals for disease, perform routine check-ups and destroy animals, said Ed Tucker, animal control services chief for Charles County.
A euthanasia technician will inject the dog with an overdose of thiopental sodium, an anesthetic typically used for surgery, Tucker said.
"You're taking it from an anesthetized state, where it goes to sleep, to a point where the heart stops, the lungs stop and it is euthanized," Tucker said. "It happens within a matter of seconds and is totally painless."
Tucker did not know how many animals are killed each year at the shelter, though he said at least 70 percent of the roughly 13,000 animals that pass through the shelter's doors find new families.
The dachshund will be cremated at the shelter's on-site crematorium, Tucker said.