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5-year-old child suffers severe injuries after being bitten in face by dog in Aurora

The dog's owner surrendered the dog to the Denver Dumb Friends League, where it was euthanized.

AURORA, Colo. — A 5-year-old child suffered severe lacerations to their face after being bitten by a dog Sunday in Aurora.

According to an Aurora Police (APD) report, the bite happened at an apartment in the 900 block of South Dearborn Way. That's about 1/2 mile south of the intersection of East Exposition Avenue and Sable Boulevard.

> The video above aired in January: Aurora city council overturns its ban on certain dog breeds.

According to the APD report, an officer was on Interstate 225 near East Mississippi Avenue when he was waved down by a man in a truck. The man, identified as 24-year-old Austin Chavez, said the child, whose name was not released, had been bitten by his dog and he wanted an emergency escort to the Medical Center of Aurora, the report states. 

Once at the hospital, Chavez told police he, a 25-year-old woman, the 5-year-old child and a 1 1/2-year-old child were in their living room. The 5-year-old was on one couch with the dog, named "Cotto," while the others were on another couch. The woman moved to the floor to take care of the younger child, then the older child got up and moved toward the woman, the report says.

RELATED: 4 people injured after being attacked by 3 dogs in Commerce City

The dog then jumped off the couch and bit the 5-year-old directly in the face, according to the police report. Chavez said Cotto wasn't letting go, so he grabbed the dog's upper and lower jaws and pried them open to free the child, the report states. Chavez picked up Cotto and put him in the bathroom, the report says.

Chavez told the officer he adopted Cotto from the Aurora Animal Shelter a week earlier, according to the APD report. Chavez said staff at the shelter told him that Cotto was a good dog around children.

The officer's report states that it was hard to get pictures of the child's injuries due to the child's head being wrapped in gauze. The officer said he could see the child had deep gashes on the right-side of his nose, along the right eyebrow and in the upper nose area. 

The officer and Chavez then went back to the apartment where the child was bitten. Chavez provided the officer adoption paperwork that showed that Cotto was brought to the shelter as a stray in early February. On the intake papers, it stated that Cotto weighed 58 pounds and had marks that showed he had been attacked by another dog, the report states.

Credit: City of Aurora
Picture of Cotto

The City of Aurora, in response to a 9NEWS records request, sent over Cotto's shelter evaluation along with a letter that gave updated information on the bite case.

Aurora said it uses the Safety Assessment for Evaluating Rehoming (SAFER) method to evaluate dogs. SAFER grades dogs on a 1-5 scale, with 1s being the dog less likely to bite in certain situations. According to Cotto's evaluation, the dog scored 1s on all of his evaluations except for one category, in which he was graded a 2. The evaluation said Cotto was very affectionate and people-oriented. 

In the letter sent to city councilmembers, it states that the child suffered a Level 5 bite and that the child's right eye would need to be checked out by a doctor.

The letter says Chavez took Cotto to the Denver Dumb Friends League on Sunday and surrendered him. Cotto was then euthanized, according to the letter.

Aurora changed its dangerous dog ordinance in February. The city said three dogs have been adopted out that would have previously been flagged under the restricted breed ordinance.

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