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Dogs that mauled boy to death were fosters from Las Cruces animal shelter


Left: Mother dog put down after attack on Avery Jackson-Dunphy. (Credit: Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley.) Right: Avery Jackson-Dunphy.{ }{p}{/p}
Left: Mother dog put down after attack on Avery Jackson-Dunphy. (Credit: Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley.) Right: Avery Jackson-Dunphy.

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New records obtained by KFOX14 show that three of the six dogs, that were put down after the attack and death of six-year-old Avery Jackson-Dunphy in Mesilla Park, New Mexico, were foster animals from the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley.

The foster documents unveiled that three medium breed dogs, which was a mother, and her two puppies, were fostered by Jackson-Dunphy’s grandfather, Kevin Owens on July 6.

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A memo, that documented a check-in by the shelter with Owens on Aug. 7th, revealed that one of the dogs showed signs of aggression.

I talked with foster Kevin and he said that the pups are doing great. Getting bigger and healthy. But Mom is becoming little aggressive with him. He was cleaning the kennel and she nipped him from behind. Akira didn't bite him but she gave him a sign that he needed to get away from her pups. She will growl at them if they touch the pups. I let him know to when he going to bring the pups, for him to take mom out to use the bathroom and then take the babies. Will try that. He also told me that once the pups are okay to be away from mom and will separate them. He is willing to work with her for a month after to see if her aggressive behavior changes.

KFOX14 spoke with Doña Ana County State Representative Joanne Ferrary following the tragic incident. She is advocating for stricter fostering guidelines and awareness.

“Especially with large breeds, or breeds that tend to be a little more vicious or protective because you never know when that protectiveness might kick in,” Ferrary said.

New Mexico’s minimum standards for animal shelters reads, “Foster parents may be trained or educated on standards of care and potential health and welfare issues.”

Ferrary plans to push for a change that would require foster parents to be trained and educated if they want to foster.

“As a lawmaker we can’t litigate everything but we can do what we can to shore up the prevention programs and the different actions for tragic situations like this,” Ferrary said.

KFOX14 also spoke with a local dog trainer about the attack. He said it’s important for both foster parents and animals to be trained before entering their temporary homes.

If the dog is experiencing bad behavior, especially extreme behavior, especially aggression, you should definitely contact a well qualified dog trainer to find out what the source of the aggression is,” Jaime Banegas, the owner of Work Dog Work dog training said.

He said in this case, where multiple dogs mauled a child to death, the source of aggression could have started with the mother dog protecting her puppies, which were four months old at the time of the attack.

It is a situation Banegas believes could have been prevented with proper training.

“If someone takes in a foster dog and because it’s not their dog they decide not to put it in training, yeah that’s a huge factor and because it’s not their dog, it’s only temporary, they don’t establish a strong relationship with the dog,” Banegas said.

KFOX14 reached out to the shelter who declined an interview due to this being an ongoing investigation.

“This horrific event is an ongoing investigation and other than turning over public records, the ASCMV will not be providing any statements,” Clint Thacker, the executive director of Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley said.

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