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from The Boston Globe

    Family Rottweiler kills foster child, 5

By Associated Press, 6/11/2001

SPRINGFIELD - A 5-year-old boy was mauled to death by his foster mother's Rottweiler in the family's backyard on Saturday afternoon.

Kyle Anthony Ross lived with his foster mother, Linda McNeil, who owned the 2-year-old male dog with her boyfriend, Eddie Finklea. The couple usually kept the dog in a chain-link cage behind the home, police said.

Finklea and McNeil told police they thought the boy was napping when they noticed the dog wandering in the front yard around 1 p.m.


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When Finklea brought the dog to his backyard pen, he found the boy lying on his back, unresponsive, with bite marks on his face and neck.

''It appears as though the little boy was in the cage,'' Lieutenant William J. Noonan told the Springfield Union-News and Sunday Republican. ''The 5-year-old apparently slipped out without anyone noticing.''

No one in the house saw or heard the attack, police said.

Noonan said that an investigation is still ongoing, and that he did not know if the owners would face criminal charges.

A man who answered the door at the house Saturday night said, ''We ain't got nothing to say. It was an accident.''

An animal control officer from the neighboring town of Chicopee removed the dog after the attack. He said the dog has a history of aggression.

''We had a complaint the dog bit one of the adult neighbors about a year ago,'' Richard B. Hartnett said. ''But it was nothing of this magnitude.''

The state Department of Social Services notified the boy's biological mother, Diana M. Ross, 27, of Ware, of the boy's death several hours after the attack. When she went to the hospital, she said, hospital workers did not allow her to see the boy's face because of the injuries.

Kyle Ross and a younger brother, Damien, 3, were removed from her home in 1999 after Kyle ''snuck out one day,'' Ross said.

© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper

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