Local mom opens up after son attacked, 'He's having nightmares now. He's terrified of dogs'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Celeste McMullen tells Action News Jax she and her son are physically and mentally drained after being attacked by a dog at Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services nearly two weeks ago.

“He’s having nightmares now, he’s terrified of dogs, like it is just very traumatizing,” said McMullen about her son. “And not only him, it’s traumatizing for me too, me being a mother. Like, nobody should experience anything like that ever.”

According to a report obtained by Action News Jax, the family was interacting with the dog at the shelter. It says the interaction was going so well, that “… the family and a staff member took the dog out to one of the interaction play yards behind the shelter. The dog was let off leash and was doing OK.”

The report states the child picked up a toy in the play yard, at which point the dog grabbed the child’s shirt. That’s when the report says the mother and her boyfriend intervened.

“The mother was pulling the child away from the dog and the other adult was hitting the dog in the face with the rope toy,” said the report. “The dog then released the grip on the shirt and grabbed the pants of the boy, the dog then released the grip again and at this point bit the child on the left hip/glute area…”

The report states the employee radioed for help, and other employees were able to get the dog to release the child, at which point he was taken into the building, and 911 was called.

“During the struggle to get the dog to release the bite on the child the mother sustained two puncture wounds to her stomach region,” said the report.

McMullen said the boy’s injuries were extensive.


“The muscle was effected, it was detached away from his bone on his leg, and he had multiple, multiple, upon, more than 175 stitches,” said McMullen about her son. “As far as on the inside and the out, all combined, just on his leg.”

The city tells Action News Jax, “Animal interactions are supervised and/or monitored. At the time of this incident, the interaction was supervised.”

A city spokesperson tells us the animal has been euthanized.

STORY: Child, mother bitten by dog at animal shelter in Jacksonville, City officials confirm

On the subject of whether any portion of the family’s medical cost will be covered by the city, a spokesperson tells us an incident report has been filed with the city’s Risk Management division.

The family says the staff member who was with them left to get help even though she had a walkie-talkie.

Action News Jax reporter Ryan Nelson took this question to the city.

A spokeswoman responded, “Since we have been informed that the family involved are filing a lawsuit, we are not commenting any further at this time.”

McMullen tells us she is consulting an attorney.

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