A 5-year-old boy from Brownfield is recovering from facial surgery in a Portland hospital after his family’s dog mauled him Tuesday morning at a Fryeburg residence.

The dog, a 7-year-old pit bull, was lying with the child peacefully when it bit the boy in the face multiple times, said Fryeburg Police Lt. Michael McAllister.

When police and paramedics arrived at the home at 581 Main St. in Fryeburg, the boy was conscious but had suffered serious facial injuries. He was transferred from Bridgton Hospital to Maine Medical Center for surgery, where he is now recovering, McAllister said.

“They were able to save most of the facial tissue,” McAllister said.

Authorities are not releasing the child’s name. Family members declined to be interviewed Wednesday night after being contacted by the town’s animal control officer.

After the attack took place, Kathleen Hathaway, Fryeburg’s animal control officer, said the dog’s owners told her the animal was not current on its rabies vaccinations.

At that point, the boy’s family had two options: quarantine the dog while the boy received rabies vaccinations, or put the dog down. They chose to put the dog down.

Hathaway said that enabled officials to transport the dog’s brain to Augusta, where it was tested for rabies. She said testing brain tissue is the only accurate way to tell if the dog was infected.

Test results, which came back late Wednesday afternoon, were negative, Hathaway said.

It was unclear what caused the dog to attack the child.

The boy and his family had driven from their home in Brownfield to visit relatives in Fryeburg, where the attack took place.

“The problem is no one saw what happened. It’s hard to tell if the dog was provoked (by the child),” Hathaway said.

She said the pit bull had not been neutered – a procedure that some people believe will lessen aggression in dogs.

Hathaway said the family told her it had raised the dog since it was a puppy and that they had never experienced any problems.

Staff Writer Matt Byrne can be reached at 791-6303, or at:

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