AMSTERDAM — A boy who was attacked by his family's dog Wednesday — suffering severe injuries to his neck — has undergone two surgeries and is expected to survive, according to the boy's father, Samuel Lawson.
Lawson said his 8-year-old son, Emanuel Sanchez, was taking the family's pit bull/boxer mix named Big Boy out for a walk Wednesday when the animal attacked for apparently no reason.
Lawson's fiancee, Jasmine Tirado, was also injured in the attack.
"She tried to protect him, and [the dog] went after both of them," Lawson, 38, said.
Sanchez was bitten in the neck and arm and was airlifted to Albany Medical Center on Wednesday.
“He’s going to pull through, he’s very, very tough,” said Lawson, adding that Sanchez had surgery on his arm and neck. “After the whole situation that happened, he wasn’t hysterical. He was calm through the whole situation, so he’s very strong. He tried to talk through the whole situation. He knew what was going on; he was worried about his sisters.”
Lawson said doctors are sedating Sanchez so he doesn’t damage any of the repairs that were made to his body.
“For the first week he’s going to be kind of out of it,” he said.
Lawson said Big Boy bit Tirado, 27, taking the tip of her pointer finger off.
“She won’t ever have her nail back,” he said. She sustained other injuries as well.
“As she was trying to protect Emanuel, he was going after her,” Lawson said. “So her right arm is bruised, her knee is bruised. She has to talk to a plastic surgeon sometime next week.”
Lawson said Tirado is 6 months pregnant but the incident did not affect the health of her pregnancy. Lawson has seven children total ranging in age from 2 to 12.
Lawson said he has owned Big Boy, now 5, since he was a puppy, and the animal has never exhibited aggressive behavior before.
"I don't know what the issue was or why he attacked," Lawson said. "Honestly I don't care. He went after my son and he knows better than that. ... I don't want him here."
Tirado was involved in a 2011 incident in Schenectady in which three dogs she owned escaped from her Hulett Street apartment and mauled a woman. That woman, Shirleen Lucas, suffered severe injuries to her head, arms and legs that required 200 stitches to heal, as well as cosmetic surgery, according to a Daily Gazette report from 2012.
Tirado was fined $2,200 and was sentenced to 30 days in jail in that case.
All three animals in the 2011 incident were destroyed.
On Wednesday, Big Boy was confined to a kennel behind Lawson's house at 61 Chapel Place in Amsterdam.
Lawson said he's waiting on county animal control officials to learn what will become of the animal.
Amsterdam Police Chief Greg Culick said his department is investigating the Wednesday attack, as well as Tirado’s involvement in the 2011 incident. It’s unclear what, if any, charges might be filed. Culick added that county animal control services are also involved in assuming control of the dog but that the local shelter is over capacity.
“Right now the dog is detained [at the residence] because the shelter doesn’t have any room,” he said.
There are significant security measures present at Lawson’s home. At least three surveillance cameras are located on the front of the house, and there are several signs on the property noting the presence of the camera and at least one that says “beware of the dog.”
Lawson, who is originally from New York City, said he put such measures in place to protect his family because he works long hours.
“I want to make sure my family is safe at all times,” said Lawson, who works for Daigle Cleaning. “You say this is a nice area but I’m from New York City, I don’t know.”
He added that security footage shows Big Boy was not provoked before launching the attack.
Lawson said he’s lived at the Chapel Place home, which he owns, for the past two years.