Mansfield selectmen voted 3-2 to euthanize Milo the dog Wednesday after hearing from both the victim's family and the dog's family.
The dog reportedly attacked 6-year-old Christian Hebert on Jan. 3 while at the house of the dog's owner Michael Bailey.
After the vote, the Baileys said they would try to appeal the ruling in court.
The board heard statements from both sides as well as from Mansfield animal control officers Jeffrey Collins and Steve Simmons.
Collins said while he met the dog only once, Milo seemed to be calm and docile in front of a stranger, but the severity and depth of the bites, based on his experience and the Dunbar system, were excessive.
"I have several dozen cases of various people that have been bitten ranging from a minor bite in the hand to a young lady who was knocked by two dogs, who worked as a pack, ravaging her shoulder and head," he said. "This bite is excessive."
Collins recommended the dog be euthanized after determining the dog's aggressiveness and danger using the Ian Dunbar scale, which determines the animal's intentions by examining the number, degree and depth of the dog's bite.
Dozens of supporters for both sides came to the hearing, but were not allowed to speak because the hearing was not for character assessments, but rather facts involved in the case.
"Imagining the worst"
The victim's mother, Dawn Hebert Miller, said her son had suffered severe damage to his face. She said he needed more than 400 stitches after the incident.
"I was just imagining the worst, and I went to Hasbro Children's Hospital and my worst fears were realized," she said.
She said her son will most likely be scarred for life, which cannot be determined until the scars heal more and cosmetic surgery can be assessed.
"He ended up going into surgery two hours long," she said, tearing up. "He was under. I was with him the whole entire time. It was just awful he kept coming to and waking up. It was a horrific time."
The Jan. 3 incident occurred when Heather Bailey, Michael Bailey's daughter, was picking up Hebert from the school bus. Heather Bailey had been babysitting Hebert since school started in 2012.
She was supposed to take him to his home, right across the street from the Bailey residence.
At that time, Heather Bailey saw the vehicle belonging to Seth Miller Hebert's stepfather, in the driveway and did not think she needed the key to get into the house. When she returned to pick up Hebert, the vehicle was gone. So, she took Hebert to her house to get the key.
"So, he walked in," she said. "Christian was really excited. He had a smile on face. He ran over and he plopped down on the couch."
She said Hebert went over to Milo, who had been sleeping on the couch, and started petting him with no incident, while she got a Wii videogame.
"When I got the videogame, that's when I heard all this commotion," she said, visibly shaking during the recollection.
"It's hard for me to put my dog's life in the hands of people who weren't there to witness what went on," she said. "There's so much more going on underneath."
Selectman George Dentino said because the actual incident wasn't witnessed and therefore no evidence of provocation (or lack thereof) could be established, the dog should be able to be retrained and restrained rather than euthanized.
"We live in a society that gives second chances, and I think this dog deserves a second chance," said Deninto, who voted again euthanizing Milo. Doug Annino also voted again euthanasia.
"Do not blame yourself"
The board took a long time to come to their final vote and all the selectmen expressed their sympathy with both sides.
"It's not your fault, you didn't do anything wrong," said Selectman Jess Aptowitz to Heather Bailey. "Do not blame yourself. I know it's easy for me to say, but we as a board are charged with doing what's best for the community for everyone."