Dion Bush: Minnesota 14-year-old mauled to death by German Shepherd at his family's dog breeding farm
The attack took place on December 14 when Bush went out to tend to the animals
BATTLE LAKE, MINNESOTA: The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office revealed on December 14 that the teenager who was fatally attacked by his family dog near Battle Lake Thursday has been identified as 14-year-old Dion Bush. Bush was a ninth-grader at Battle Lake High School. His family raises German shepherds at their residence near Amor, located 11 miles north of Battle Lake, according to Park Rapids Enterprise.
It is still unclear as to what caused the dog to attack the boy, Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Lt. Keith Van Dyke said, adding that North Dakota State University will try to determine what made the canine turn on the teenager by conducting a necropsy of its body. Van Dyke said in an email to Focus on December 14 that the University is yet to send reports on the dog to the Sheriff's Office. According to the report, the attack took place around 3 pm when Bush went out to tend to the animals. “The father was incapacitated with a medical injury so he wasn’t able to take care of the dogs himself,” Van Dyke noted.
The father called on his son multiple times when he didn't return to the house for a while, but didn't receive a response. He immediately called the police for help since he was physically unable to check on the boy himself. Responding officers found Bush dead on the ground, and noted that the dog -- a three-year-old long-haired German shepherd -- was "extremely aggressive" toward them. The deputies killed the dog at the family's request because its behavior posed danger to society and risked public safety. The family revealed that they purchased the mongrel from Poland six months ago.
The Battle Lake School sent a letter to families of its students on Friday, informing them of the tragedy and noting that counseling would be available for students in "grades 7-12 at school during in-person days and at Battle Lake Alliance Church for distance learners," according to Park Rapids Enterprise. Superintendent Darren Kern and High School Principal Ryan Severson also wrote that a memorial for Bush will be established in school for the community and students to reflect or share written memories of Dion Bush.
Meanwhile, local residents have set up a Meal Train to support the Bush family. Dion's devastated mother Jennifer thanked everyone involved for their help on the website. "Although my world has been torn upside down... I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I can’t breathe," she said. "Losing my son has torn me apart and I don’t know how much more I can take this pain. I can’t thank you all enough for doing this. Seriously I am mean it. God bless you all. Thank you."
"The food is amazing. Dion’s 3 surviving siblings and family that has been coming to comfort us are enjoying it," the embattled mother added. "They are amazed with how much our community supports one another. I am trying so hard to stay strong. I love my kids so much. I just want my sweet Dion back to be whole again. God please.. bring him back."
There were at least 48 dog-bite-related fatalities in the U.S. in 2019, according to dogsbite.org. 77% of those involved pitbulls or Rottweilers, while only two resulted from attacks involving German shepherds.