A Chicago-area man is leading a national campaign aimed at halting the scheduled euthanasia of a mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix that mauled and killed a 1-year-old boy in Nevada last month.
Les Golden, of Oak Park, Ill., is part of the group seeking a stay from Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen in order to thwart the killing of 6-year-old, 120-pound Onion. Onion's euthanasia is currently slated to occur Monday or Tuesday, the Associated Press reports, but the group is pushing for the dog to be moved to a sanctuary located near Denver.
"This dog will never harm another soul," Golden told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "The dog deserves to be saved."
Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan was celebrating his first birthday with family and friends at his grandmother's home in Henderson, Nev., on April 27, the Las Vegas Sun reported. Jeremiah had crawled toward the dog in order to pet it, police reported, but the dog latched onto the toddler's head and shook him while his grandmother attempted to pull the boy away. Jeremiah died in a hospital the next day.
The dog's owners don't want to have anything to do with the campaign to save Onion, who has been in custody of Henderson Animal Control since the attack to be observed for rabies, Fox Las Vegas previously reported.
"For what he did to my son, he deserves to be punished," Christopher Shahan, Jeremiah's father told the Review-Journal. An Animal Control spokesperson told the paper that they cannot adopt out the dog, which the family said had never been aggressive before the fatal attack.
Elizabeth Keller, Jeremiah's grandmother, tearfully told Fox Las Vegas "I tried everything I could think of to do to try and get him off our baby. ... If I had ever known that this would happen I would have gotten rid of Onion, even though I loved him very much." She described Jeremiah as "the best baby in the world, he was the happiest."
Jeremiah's family has set up a memorial fund and is asking their community to help them pay for the boy's burial.