Central Point boy in fair condition after being mauled by dogs

CENTRAL POINT — A 9-year-old Central Point boy remained hospitalized Wednesday a day after he was attacked by three large pit bulls at his father's home.

Ashtin Hedges was inside his father's home in the 100 block of East Gregory Road when the dogs attacked, Jackson County sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.

The father, Timothy Allen Hedges, 34, owns five pit bulls. Police believe Ashtin was mauled by three of the pit bulls and suffered multiple injuries, Carlson said.

"When the deputies arrived, there was a large amount of blood in the living room," Carlson said. "The deputy observed the boy appeared to have between 10 and 15 injuries."

The most serious injuries appeared on Ashtin's head. The deputy said the dogs appeared to have torn off a large chunk of the boy's scalp.

The boy was rushed to Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford, where he remained in fair condition, according to hospital spokesman Grant Walker.

Jackson County Animal Control officers will collect the pit bulls and quarantine them for 10 days to check them for rabies and other issues that might have led to an attack, said Jackson County Animal Care and Control Director Colleen Macuk.

During this 10-day period, animal control officers will conduct an investigation into the case and will determine the dogs' fate, Macuk said.

Carlson said the sheriff's office probably will not lodge charges against Timothy Hedges.

"The only way we will step in is if someone purposefully causes dogs to attack someone," Carlson said. "If that's not the case here, then we will not charge."

Macuk said her department will work with Hedges in the coming weeks to determine the next steps. This could include disposing of the dogs at the shelter.

It is possible Hedges could be cited for keeping a dangerous dog.

"At this point we have to look into the facts of this case," she said. "There is a lot we have to do to learn exactly what happened."

Macuk said Hedges has been cooperative in the early stages of the investigation.

"The father does not want the dogs around his child anymore," Macuk said. "He wants to do the responsible thing to protect his son."

Macuk said dog owners should take efforts to educate themselves about the possibilities of raising several dogs at a time. They also should license their dogs and make sure their pets have all required vaccinations.

"The key is to educate yourself before you decide to own a dog or dogs," she said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

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