HOBART — A couple is accused of attempting a cover-up after their pit bull mauled a 9-year-old boy's head while the boy was sleeping in their home Tuesday.
The boy, who suffered injuries to his skull and face and whose ear was severed from his head, is recovering at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, his mother said Thursday.
“They did a CT scan … and said the bite was so bad that it was a hair away from crushing his skull and killing him,” said Rachel Habhab, the boy’s mother.
Geraldine Gibson-Roe failed to report the attack to Hobart police, Lt. James Gonzales said.
Her husband, Levi Roe, took the dog to the Hobart Humane Society to be euthanized, but told an employee he had found the dog wandering the streets, police said.
Habhab said her son is not sleeping well and has been waking up in the middle of the night with tears in his eyes since Tuesday's attack due to the trauma and pain. He is speaking with counselors at the hospital, she said.
“We’re not sure how long he’ll be at the hospital. They can’t give us an exact release time," the mother said. "They're managing his pain. They want to wait and see and make sure he’s eating and taking his medicine orally."
Habhab said the boy had been to the Roes' Hobart home before, but she believes the dog was usually put away.
The couple is new to the neighborhood, but Habhab thought her boy would be safe at the home and never imagined something like this happening to him, she said.
Hobart police were called Tuesday to St. Mary Medical Center, where officers spoke with Habhab. She told police her son was mauled by the dog while staying the night at a friend's home in the 6100 block of California Street, Gonzales said.
The mother reported the dog, named Joe, entered the room while her son was sleeping and began licking his face. When the boy awoke, the dog attacked him, police said.
The boy was transferred to Riley Hospital in Indianapolis for further treatment.
An officer went to Gibson-Roe's home and learned that instead of calling police about the attack, Gibson-Roe called her mother-in-law, Gonzales said.
The mother-in-law is accused of instructing Gibson-Roe not to call police and instead call her husband, Roe. Before police arrived at the home, Roe picked up the dog and took it to the Humane Society to be euthanized, police said.
Police contacted the Humane Society, and staff reported Roe brought the dog in but said it was a stray he found near 61st Avenue and Liverpool Road, Gonzales said.
"At no time did he disclose to the Humane Society employee that the pit bull had been involved with the mauling of a 9-year-boy or that the pit bull was aggressive," Gonzales said.
During a phone conversation, Roe told the officer, "Well I took the dog there to get rid of him," police said.
Roe told police he didn't know if the dog had received rabies shots, Gonzales said.
Gibson-Roe was cited for failure to register the dog with the city, dog attack on a human and failure to vaccinate the dog.
However, police plan to drop charges filed in Hobart City Court if the Lake County prosecutor's office accepts charges, including obstruction of justice, false informing and harboring a nonimmunized dog that caused bodily injury against Gibson-Roe and obstruction of justice against Roe, Gonzales said.
The dog will be quarantined for 10 days and then euthanized, police said.
The family said they are exploring surgery options to replace the boy’s ear.
“That’s months down the road,” Habhab said.