A 10-year-old local boy’s family is asking for prayers and a GoFundMe account has been set up for their son as he recovers from a severe dog attack that occurred in Finney County in early December.
Chance Orozco was attacked by a German shepherd mix sometime shortly after 5 p.m. Dec. 5, according to the Finney County Sheriff's Office. The boy’s mother, Jennifer Orozco, said a young neighbor who played with Chance “every day” had come to the house to invite him over after school. After five minutes, she said, Chance “took off” toward his friend’s house, where he would be found 20 minutes later lying on the ground unconscious with the dog “chewing” on him, according to a sheriff's office report.
Today, Chance is recovering at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colo. He already has undergone four reconstructive surgeries with more to come. The attack left him without his left ear and portions of his scalp. Extensive damage was done to his head and the left side of his face, and it remains to be seen if vision in his left eye will be affected by the incident. Chance’s father, Stephen Orozco, says his son breathes with the help of a tracheal tube and is mostly nonverbal.
But as their son recovers, the family is still looking for answers. The report given to law enforcement by the Orozcos’ neighbor and the dog’s owner, Enrique Galvez, conflicts somewhat with Jennifer Orozco's version of events.
The family also has trouble accepting that the dog, which according to the sheriff's report was tethered to a tree on the side of the house outside of a fenced enclosure, was not considered a dog at large by law enforcement.
Finney County Undersheriff John Andrews said no citations were given because there were no violations.
“The dog was chained to a tree on the owner’s property,” Andrews said, adding that nobody knows how Chance came into direct contact with the dog.
Galvez told sheriff’s deputies that the dog was not usually aggressive, according to the sheriff’s report, and also that Chance had been around the dog before. Andrews said the dog was later taken into quarantine at the Finney County Humane Society and ultimately put down at the request of Galvez, who told authorities he did not want to be responsible for a vicious dog.
According to Stephen Orozco, who said he doesn't know where the dog came from, a private investigator told his attorney, Dustin DeVaughn of Wichita, that the dog was a pit bull mix from Dodge City. DeVaughn was unavailable for comment as of press time, and the sheriff’s office had no records to support evidence of that claim or any other attacks by the dog in question.
The FCHS declined to comment on the dog’s breed.
Galvez’s statements somewhat conflict with Jennifer Orozco’s account of what happened that afternoon. She said Galvez’s young son came to their house to play with Chance. At the time, Jennifer Orozco told him Chance was busy with chores. Still, Chance left the house minutes later to meet his friend.
Galvez told sheriff’s deputies that when Chance arrived at his home he told him his son, Enrique Jr., was asleep. About 20 minutes later, close to 5:30 p.m., Galvez said he went outside to work on a car when he noticed Chance lying down within the perimeter the dog was confined to, covered in blood as the dog chewed on him.
“I don’t understand how Enrique could fall asleep or be asleep when they got off the bus,” Stephen Orozco said of the neighbor’s son. “When I look at those statements, they don’t match up.”
When sheriff’s deputies were called by dispatch and notified of a child who was down and not breathing at 5:27 p.m., Capt. Randy Mosher of the Kansas Highway Patrol picked up the call and responded to the scene because he was close by.
He said he was met at the scene by several people in front of the house, who directed him to the north side of the house where Chance was lying on the ground covered in a blanket. After he arrived, he said, the dog was still tethered to the tree close to where Chance was positioned.
“I uncovered him and I seen the injuries to his face and bleeding, so I used my trauma pack and applied QuickClot to the major head wound that was bleeding,” Mosher said. “When I put that on and got the bleeding controlled, Chance actually looked at me and said, ‘That stings.’”
Mosher said Chance was able to tell him his name, that he went to school at Jennie Barker Elementary School and how old he was. Still, he “didn’t understand what was going on,” Mosher said, adding that Chance said he didn’t know what happened to him.
“He was an extremely strong boy. I never did see him cry,” Mosher said. “I’m the captain for the highway patrol out here, and I’ve been on 32 years so I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff, and this was a very traumatic scene.”
Chance was airlifted to Children's Hospital Colorado, where he has been treated ever since with the support of his family. His family members have not been back to Garden City, and they have not had a chance to speak with Galvez.
But with many surgeries left to come and limited medical insurance, Stephen Orozco said the family is seeking prayers more than anything.
“If people want to donate, that’s fine,” he said. “We’re not asking for donations. If anything, we’re asking for prayers. Chance, as far as him recovering, he’s doing very well.”
Stephen Orozco said there is still a hole about the size of a golf ball on the back of Chance’s head that doctors are trying to close up with tissue growth and blood flow. He added that Chance is now aware of what happened to him, but he still can’t speak and he’s too weak to write messages on a dry-erase board.
“We’re not blaming the dog for the attack,” Stephen Orozco said. “We are blaming the owners of that dog because that dog was taught to attack, so if there is a fight for what is right, then it would be to punish the owners for teaching dogs to attack.”
Galvez declined to comment on the incident.
Those interested in donating to Chance’s cause can visit GoFundMe.com and search “Chance’s medical fund.” As of press time, 63 people have contributed $4,504 in 24 days, nearly capping the $5,000 goal. There is also an account set up with First National Bank of Syracuse in Garden City for the Chance Orozco Fund.
Contact Mark Minton at firstname.lastname@example.org.