SAINT JAMES CITY, Fla. - An investigation report has been released answering some questions about a dog biting a boy's face in the parking lot of a grocery store - and it shows the dog has a history of biting.
On May 11, officers responded to a call that a 4-year-old boy was bitten by a dog in the parking lot of the Winn-Dixie on Stringfellow Road. The victim was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital as a trauma alert - and eventually airlifted to Tampa General Hospital.
Photos in the report show the boy's entire head wrapped in bandages from hair to chin, with only his face exposed.
Police began investigating the incident with surveillance video from the Winn-Dixie.
In the video, investigators said the boy and his parents could be seen walking out of the store. Suddenly, a gray mass - a dog named Sage - appears from between cars and pounces on the boy. The dog's owner - identified by investigators as Stephanie Taylor - is seen pulling Sage off of the boy. But it wasn't enough.
Sage attacks the boy a second time. This time, witnesses said the dog bit the boy, taking a chunk out of his cheek.
When investigators arrived on scene to talk to Taylor, a man named Joseph Kuzcko and Kuczko's mother Antoinette, they said the three were nervous and pacing. Sage was reportedly inside the car - growling and barking. She was wearing a leash and harness in the car - but was not in the surveillance video.
Taylor told investigators she and Kuczko were waiting for Antoinette to come out of the store when Sage broke loose from her leash and ran between cars. Kuzcko said Sage attacked the boy because he was swinging his arms and yelling after Taylor pulled Sage off of him. He told investigators Sage is a good dog, and "everyone was being over-dramatic."
Then - a surprise.
Taylor reportedly blurted out that she has brain cancer - and Sage had been extra-sensitive since her diagnosis.
Investigators said they ran Taylor's driver's license and found out something unexpected.
Sage has a record.
According to the report, Sage has been aggressive to both dogs and people in the past - biting dogs in 2017 and an animal control officer in 2018. Knowledge of this report allegedly made Kuzcko agitated. Investigators said Sage was up to date on her rabies shot.
After completing work on scene, the investigator called the victim's father who reportedly immediately asked "Was that dog taken and destroyed yet?"
The victim's father told investigators the boy was bit on the shoulder in the first pounce and then on the face. He also said he intended to press charges.
Police were sent to impound Sage due to the nature of the incident. The report said Kuczko stood outside taking photographs of the officers who came for Sage and saying they were "being unfair and stealing their dog."
Sage was impounded for a 10 day period which will end May 21. She is under a dangerous dog investigation.
Taylor was issued citations for "running at large" and "threatening/menacing behavior."