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Toddler In Pit Bull Attack Has A 'Long Road To Recovery'

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) - The mother of a 19-month-old child who was hurt when a pit bull attacked him in Commerce City on Sunday says she feels lucky her boy is alive.

Tristan Klein, is recovering from surgery after the 90 pound pit bull attacked him.

Tristan Klein
Tristan Klein (credit: CBS)

The dog's owner is now under arrest.

A friend of Klein's who calls himself Gator told CBS4 he is among a group of transients who have been traveling with the boy and his mother, who are from Florida. He said the group had decided to camp in an empty parking lot in Commerce City where Sue Tacket, 51, was also staying with her dog.

Sue Tacket
Sue Tacket (credit: Adams County Sheriff)

Witnesses say Tacket's dog was on a leash and had been tied to a pole. Right after the child approached it trying to give it a hug the animal allegedly attacked and latched on to the child's face and neck.

"The baby gave it a hug and the baby walked away and the dog jumped on the baby," Gator said.

"It was tough to come up there and see the dog had the baby in its mouth," he said.

Police who responded were able to restrain the dog using catch-poles but it allegedly continued fighting and ultimately died from asphyxiation.

Authorities told CBS4 officers who responded to the scene were trained in how to identify an aggressive animal as well as how to restrain such an animal. They said, however, that they will investigate how officers handled the situation.

Tacket is now charged with unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog and is being held at the Adams County Detention Facility. Commerce City is one of several municipalities in the Denver metro area with bans on owning pit bulls.

"She was at the location where this occurred however she had stepped away from that particular group at the time this incident happened," said Commerce City police spokesman Officer Chris Dickey.

Klein's injuries are serious but police say they are hopeful he will come out okay. He is expected to be in the hospital for several days.

"There's going to be a long road to recovery for him, but on the flipside of that he is young and young kids are pretty versatile in bouncing back from things so we hope he makes a full recovery," Dickey said.

Klein's mother told CBS4 she feels lost after the attack but is grateful her son is expected to survive.

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