The 14-year-old boy who died near Battle Lake Thursday after being attacked by the family dog has been identified as Dion Bush, the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office said on Dec. 14.
Bush's family raises German shepherds at their home near Amor, about 11 miles north of Battle Lake. Bush was a ninth-grader at Battle Lake High School.
Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Lt. Keith Van Dyke said he isn’t sure what caused the dog to attack the boy, and said that North Dakota State University will conduct a necropsy of the dog’s body to see if they can determine what made it turn on the boy.
In an email to the Focus on Dec. 14, Van Dyke said the Sheriff's Office has not gotten any reports on the dog back from the Univeristy at this time.
The attack happened about 3 p.m., after the boy went out to tend to the dogs.
“The father was incapacitated with a medical injury so he wasn’t able to take care of the dogs himself,” Van Dyke said.
When the boy didn’t return to the house, the father called for him, and after receiving no response called authorities for help, since he was unable to check on the boy, the lieutenant said.
Deputies found Bush deceased, and the dog, a 3-year-old long-haired German shepherd, was “extremely aggressive” toward them. They said they killed the dog at the family’s request and because its behavior posed a risk to public safety. They said the dog had been purchased from Poland six months ago.
On Friday, the Battle Lake School sent a letter to families informing them of the death and also saying that counseling would be available for students in grades 7-12 at school during in-person days and at Battle Lake Alliance Church for distance learners.
A memorial for Bush will be established in the school building for the school community and students to reflect or share written memories and artifacts, wrote Superintendent Darren Kern and High School Principal Ryan Severson.
The Otter Tail County coroner’s office is also investigating.
According to dogsbite.org, in 2019, the were 48 dog-bite related fatalities in the U.S. Of those deaths, 77% involved pit bulls or Rottweilers. Only two of those deaths resulted from attacks involving German shepherds.
Between 2005 to 2019, only 22 of 521 total dog-bite related fatalities resulted from German shepherds attacks, according to dogsbite.org.