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Investigation continues into fatal dog attack



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June 18, 2014 - A 10-month-old Springfield Township baby was killed in a dog attack, June 8.

Deputies and Springfield Township paramedics were called to the 8200 block of Tindall in Springfield Township, 11:45 a.m., June 8. According to police, the baby was being held on the couch by a teenage relative when the family dog, a 75-pound Catahoula hound, tried to jump up. The teen pushed the animal down, but it jumped back up and attacked the baby.

The infant was transported to Genesys Regional Medical Center by the Springfield paramedics, then air lifted to Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital by Life Flight, where he was pronounced deceased.

Funeral service for Holden William Garrison was June 13 at Coats Funeral Home in Clarkston.

Investigation continues by Oakland County Forensic Lab and Animal Control.

However, all dog owners should pay attention to possible warning signs from their pets. Dogs see themselves as members of a pack with a hierarchy led by the top dog, even in a human household, said Dr. Lincoln Baylis of Baylis Animal Hospital.

"Some breeds like Labrador and Golden Retrievers generally don't care where they are on the totem pole. They're just happy to be there," Dr. Baylis said. "Other breeds, like German Shepherds and pit bulls, tend to challenge more. They're more interested in where they are on the pole. They want to know their place."

A change in the household, like a new child, can create a problem if the dog thinks it has to assert itself, he said.

The Springfield Township dog also reportedly bit a neighbor on the arm several months ago, which is a big warning sign, the veterinarian said.

Dog owners may not see anything wrong with their family pet, so an outside expert can provide valuable perspective.

"See an animal behaviorist or a trainer," he said. "They can come out to your home, evaluate your dog and make recommendations."

An evaluation can be especially useful before a child enters the home, he said.

"The dog needs to know where it is in the pecking order," he added.

Holden was the beloved son of Jeff and Tiffany; cherished grandson of James and Melinda Garrison, Tina O'Grady, Jack Tarket and Patti Kidd; great grandson of Maria Hayes, William and Penny Nichols, Jack and Linda Porter; nephew of John O'Grady IV, and preceded in death by his uncle Jamie Garrison. Memorials may be made to Baby Holden Memorial Fund c/o First Merit Bank, 9749 Dixie Highway, Clarkston, MI 48348.

Phil Custodio

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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