The Lagos State Police Command has detained a dog breeder on Rufus Olaniyan Estate, Irawo, Ikorodu, Lagos, in connection with the death of a five-year-old boy allegedly killed by one of the dogs under his care.
Punch Metro learnt that the suspect, identified as Lola Jonathan, was apprehended by the police at the Owode Onirin Police Division and transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department in Panti, Yaba.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, in a text message confirmed the arrest to a Punch correspondent on Thursday.
“The case was not reported promptly for investigation. However, the suspect has been arrested and taken to the SCIID. Investigation is ongoing,” she said.
It was gathered that the dog and 18 others were in Jonathan’s care as his father, who owns them, barely lived on the estate.
The boy, Jomiloju Odukomaya, was reportedly returning from a shop, where he had gone to buy a packet of biscuits on August 8, when the dog pounced on him and bit him in the left hand.
He was said to have contracted rabies from the dog bite and eventually died on September 18 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba.
Jomiloju’s mother, Mrs. Patience Odukomaya, lamented that neither Jonathan nor his father show concern for the family over the death of the Nursery 2 pupil, calling on the government and human rights groups to take up the matter.
She said, “I took him to a clinic immediately the dog bit him and the wound was treated. About two weeks after, he started exhibiting some strange signs. He screamed, barked and was drooling at the mouth.
“I took him to Randle Hospital on September 13 and a test conducted on him showed that he had contracted rabies. The hospital referred us to the LUTH. He died five days after.
“While he was receiving treatment, Jonathan came to check on him at my shop. But when he learnt that he was dead, he stopped coming and pretended as if the dog wasn’t his. I have lost my home; I don’t want to lose justice. My husband blamed me for the incident; whereas that was not the first time Jomiloju would go to buy things himself,” she added.
Patience said she had been moving from one place to another with her one-year-old daughter since September 19 when her husband sent her packing because of the matter, adding that Jonathan was adamant to admit that his dog bit Jomiloju.
“Three weeks ago, I went to the house. The moment he (Jonathan) sighted me, he ran inside. I went to the Owode Onirin Police Station and a policeman followed me there. He didn’t come out. The policeman couldn’t enter because his dogs had been unleashed on the premises. They are about 19. He was eventually arrested on Tuesday.”
When a Punch correspondent visited the residence last Thursday, Jonathan’s neigbour, Hamzat Olawale, said he was not around.
He said, “When he (Jonathan) learnt that a dog bit the boy, he visited his mother because he is friendly to everybody. I also sympathised with her. She didn’t allow the boy to have proper medical treatment.
“Besides, there is no evidence to show that it was our dog that bit the boy. Several dogs do come into our compound to play with ours. She thought it was our dog because we used to visit the boy to know his health condition. We have 19 dogs and no one has ever complained that the dogs bit them.”
When the correspondent went back to the residence on Sunday, Olawale said the case was already with the police.
The Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Dr Alao Mobolaji, who confirmed that Jomiloju died of rabies, called for stronger legislation on dog rearing.
He said, “The mother has received post-exposure immunisation against rabies because the boy bit her before he died. Dog owners should always ensure their dogs are vaccinated against rabies. They should patronise veterinary doctors. They should not allow their dogs to stray around the neighbourhood. Jomiloju’s case is just one among many.”