Four year old Alex Angulo was killed last Sunday when he was mauled to death by a Rottweiler dog on Chicago’s Southwest Side. The young boy, who had already lived at four separate foster homes, had recently opened dialogue with foster parents interested in permanent adoption. The dog mauling occurred in the foster family’s backyard where the family kept two Rottweiler dogs. Chicago Police are investigating why the boy was left unattended in the back yard. Reports indicate that a caregiver had been using a snowblower in a nearby alley just prior to the deadly dog bite accident. Angulo was taken to Holy Cross Hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 4:15 p.m. Mark Rosenthal, operations manager of the Chicago Commission on Animal Care and Control, reports that his agency removed the Rottweilers from the scene of the dog attack. The foster family also kept one poodle which was later brought to an animal control facility. All three of the dogs have been euthanized according to a staff worker at Chicago’s Animal Care and Control. The number of animals involved in the attack remains unclear.
The Illinois dog attack raises questions regarding the precautions taken by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”) in foster child placement. According to DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe, “There was an understanding that the dogs lived outside, and the child would not have unsupervised contact with the dogs.” Alex had been placed in the care of a 77 year-old Southwest Side woman who had originally obtained a care license in 2000. Because of her advanced age, primary care of the boy was performed by the elderly woman’s son, whom Alex referred to as “uncle”. A Juvenile Court judge had recently determined that the foster home was not a good long term fit for Alex due to the age of the foster mother. In responding to the attack, Cook County Public Guardian Robert Harris questioned the DCFS placement saying, “You don’t just say, ‘OK, the kid won’t go into the yard.’ I don’t know if you can always promise that with a four year old.” At least one neighbor who has asked not to be identified reported that the dogs were very aggressive,