News that a dog attack sent a 4-year-old boy to the hospital Sunday has Quincy Police, Adams County Sheriff's deputies and animal control officers vigorously searching for the suspect dog.
Both police officers and county deputies have been receiving tips from the community regarding the location of the dog in question.
The Adams County animal warden has gone door to door in the 5th and Sycamore streets area of Quincy following tips from Crime Stoppers and other sources.
Adams County Chief Deputy Fred Kientzle says that sometimes the same areas are canvassed more than once, but each time law enforcement gets new information they hope will get them closer to finding the dog.
Animal warden Carla Smith says the dog in question is a pit bull weighing between 75-80 pounds, has a white head, white legs and a white tail. It has black and brown coloring and black brindle tiger stripes on its midsection and back area.
Law enforcement is checking on known pit bull owners looking for a dog fitting that description.
But one Quincy pit bull owner believes that he and his family were treated unfairly in the search for the dog.
Kientzle said that the Sheriff's Office received a tip in the case through the Crime Stoppers' hotline on Thursday. Based on that tip, deputies went to the Scott Thomas house in Quincy looking for the dog described in the attack. Deputies knocked furiously on Thomas' door and yelled to signal that they were there, Kientzle said.
"Between the air conditioning and the TV we didn't hear the door," Thomas said. "So with that they said that they had the right to come into the house because they had an unconfirmed tip that the dog that bit the kid a few days ago was in my house. Which my dog doesn't anywhere near fit the description of that."
When no one answered, Kientzle called State's Attorney Jon Barnard get the clearance to enter the house without the owner's consent.
"The deputy and animal control was outside for quite sometime, windows were open on their apartment," Kientzle said. "Spoke to several people and stated that was their vehicle at the residence knocked on the door, which the bottom door was open, yelled inside several times and tried to get anybody to come to the door."
The deputies entered the home with shotguns drawn and said that a dog came down the stairs in an aggressive manner. Kientzle said that Thomas sent his son out to explore the commotion. Thomas insists that one of his children was about to take the dog for a walk, and says the family couldn't hear the police over the noise of his television and the roar of his air conditioner in an upstairs apartment.
Deputies handcuffed Thomas and searched the apartment for the dog in question. The Thomas family does own a pit bull named Aries, but it's not the dog suspected in the attack that spawned the police investigation.
Thomas said this wasn't the first visit he got this week regarding his pit bull and the attack on the little boy. Quincy Police officers visited his home Sunday and cleared his dog in the investigation, he said. Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley could not confirmed whether any of his officers visited the Thomas home Sunday in connection with the investigation.
â??I cannot find any record that we were out there,â?? he said. â??I cannot verify that for you at this point.â??
While the initial dog bite happened within city limits, the Adams County Sheriff's Office is mandated by law to investigate all animal bite offenses. The Sheriff's Office has two animal control officers. The city of Quincy has one.
Copley added that it would be unusual for an officer to respond to a tip without some sort of physical record of their visit, but he could not say whether that was the case or not as of 4 p.m. Friday.
Thomas believes that deputies didn't need to enter his apartment with weapons drawn and that they shouldn't have handcuffed him in front of his children. Thomas was not arrested. His family dog wasn't confiscated.