Boy Critical After Four Great
Dane Dogs Attack

By J.M. Kalil Las
Vegas Review-Journal

Four Great Dane dogs mauled an 11-year-old boy who was feeding them Wednesday afternoon, leaving the child hospitalized with life-threatening injuries caused by dozens of bites.

The father of sixth-grader Michael Foley staged a heroic rescue after hearing his son's cries for help, leaping a fence and pulling his son away from the dogs, friends and relatives said.

Paramedics responding to the 3:50 p.m. incident in northwest Las Vegas flew Foley by helicopter to University Medical Center, where he was rushed to the operating room for several hours of surgery.

"When the doctors were looking at him, they couldn't even tell how many bites were on him," hospital spokesman Rick Plummer said. "He had bites on him from head to toe. ... It's like someone took a spoon and dug his flesh out up and down his body."

Foley was in critical condition in the pediatric Intensive Care Unit following the surgery, which Plummer said doctors deemed a success.

"He seems to be doing well," Plummer said. "A lot of the bites were deep. He's a pretty lucky kid."

Authorities said the boy was tending to the Great Danes, very large dogs noted for their muscularity, for a neighbor who was out of town.

Two residents in Foley's neighborhood near U.S. Highway 95 and Durango Drive said in separate interviews Wednesday evening that their pets have been attacked by the same neighbor's Great Danes.

Deneb Ranciato, who lives across the street from the Foleys, said two of the dogs escaped their pen in May and mauled her dachshund to death.

"He was tied to a rope in the back yard and they came at him from both sides," she said of her slain pet. "Since that day, my mother won't even go for a walk around here. She's scared of them."

Another neighbor, Karen Hennessey, said two of the Great Danes jumped a fence in November and attacked her Rottweiler while her father was walking it.

"After the first attack, we were a little concerned about our children," Hennessey said.

But Hennessey said she was appeased and her fears were slightly eased after the dogs' owner paid the veterinary bills for the Rottweiler's injuries, had one of the Great Danes put to sleep and moved all the dogs to a more secure pen in the back yard.

Foley's family and neighbors identified the dogs' owner as a woman named Dail, and said she was in Chicago. Clark County assessor's office records identify the owner of the home where the dogs were captured as Dail Koehler. Attempts to reach Koehler were not successful late Wednesday.

Sgt. John Fudenberg with the Las Vegas Department of Detention and Enforcement said police called animal control officers to the dog owner's home, 8631 Rocky Ave., about 3:55 p.m. to round up the animals.

Las Vegas police officers roamed the property clutching shotguns while animal control officers approached the dogs to impound them.

Rowena Williams, who has been Foley's nanny since he was 2 months old, said Foley always feeds the animals when the neighbor is away.

"He's known the dogs since they were puppies," she said.

Foley's grandmother Dora Clemente said during a brief interview at the hospital that Foley's father, Chuck Foley, jumped his neighbor's fence to rescue his son from the dogs after hearing his son yell, "Help me! Help me!"

The father jumped into the pen with the dogs and scared them off, Clemente said.

"He's got a very deep voice, and he scared them away with his voice," she said. "He saved his life, in my opinion."

She said her grandson is a strong, handsome boy who loves playing baseball, and enjoys caring for his neighbor's pets.

"The dogs loved him, they played with him all the time," she said.

Fudenberg said after checking city records that it appears animal control officers have never been called to the area for a complaint about the dogs involved in Wednesday's attack.

He said the Great Danes were taken to the Lied Animal Shelter, the city's privately operated pound, where they will be held during an investigation of the incident.

Review-Journal staff writer Ryan Oliver contributed to this report.

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