One wonders what part of the interview was stricken where the ellipsis now stand. In my interview with Chille for further comment, he noted that the lack of bite marks on the boy was another reason to disbelieve the mother’s story. While Chille mentioned that it was not his role to speculate to the press, he had plenty to say to us about his skepticism.
For example, Chille said in 27 years at the SPCA he has never heard of a dog raping a child, and neither had any of his colleagues.
“Not to get crude about it,” he says to me as a disclaimer, explaining that a male dog attaches his claws to the sides of the female dog while mating. “It just seems to me that there would be something on the child.”
He was also disturbed by how adamant the mother was about wanting the dog (“Bear”) put down before the investigation was over and assured me that would not happen so long as he’s guarding the pooch. On Thursday, he says he received 30 emails, “most of them saying they want to adopt [the dog], none of whom blamed the dog and felt sorry for the boy. … I am toying with the idea of going to a rescue group with it.”
Most telling, perhaps, was Chille’s revelation that the mother of the injured boy is no longer reachable at her residence. “Now, [the mother] has relocated. One of the agents went to her house, and the door was shut. The neighbors said she will not be coming back.” Her flight is not proof of culpability or involvement as an accessory, but Chille said it raised his eyebrows.
Niagara County’s District Attorney Matthew J. Murphy III refused to confirm this information, as it was “an ongoing investigation.” When we asked if child protective services were involved, he repeated the answer and hung up the phone.
(iMediaEthics called WIVB for comment, but the news director has not yet replied.)
An Alternative Hypothesis and a Question That Needs Asking
The dog seems to be in safe hands now. What about the boy?
The Women’s & Children’s Hospital has been told by the mother not to release information about the medical condition of the child. However, we asked the public information spokesman John Moscato if the hospital was shielding him, and whether they’d reported suspected abuse to child protective services.
“Child protective services and all of the appropriate authorities have been notified in this case,” he stated. It’s difficult to believe that they would be taking such measures if they were certain that the jailed dog was the culprit.
Surprisingly, no press reports that we’ve been able to find have investigated alternative scenarios with human perpetrators. Were “bizarre and disturbing” headlines more appealing?
Assuming the mother’s story is wrong, and it’s becoming less credible by the moment, there is a more obvious hypothesis: this was a human crime.
It’s unclear whether the story was reported the way it was out of a misplaced sense of propriety, or lurid sensationalism. Evidence, however, indicates that the press has lent credibility to the preposterous alibi of a child rapist, leaving a two-year-old in continued danger of molestation while sending an innocent pit bull to be put to sleep.
Fortunately, the director of the Niagara County SPCA and the Women & Children’s Hospital are not just going with the assumption that the dog did it.
Additional Reporting by: Rhonda Roland Shearer and Jeremy Miller