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14-year-old boy killed by dog suffered fatal bite, wasn't attacked

His family calls Dion Bush's death a "tragic accident."

The family of the 14-year-old Battle Lake boy who died after being bitten by the family dog says the dog didn't maul him.

Dion Bush was found dead in the yard at his home in rural Battle Lake in Otter Tail County by police who were carrying out a welfare check on Dec. 10, 2020. 

The sheriff's office at the time said he was "believed to have been attacked by the family dog." The dog, a 3-year-old long-haired German shepherd, was "extremely aggressive" when police arrived. 

The dog was put down at the request of the Bush family. 

Now, a month after Dion's death, his family says he died of a fatal dog bite, calling it a "tragic accident," according to a Go Fund Me page set up this week by Jennifer Bush, Dion's mom. 

The page seeks to raise $5,000 for the cost of a headstone and to help due to loss of work. 

"He is loved, missed and deeply mourned," the page says. "We never expected to bury one of our children."

Jennifer Bush spoke with the Pioneer Press in a story published Friday in which she shares details of her son's death publicly for the first time. 

She told the paper Dion died of a single tooth puncture to the femoral artery, noting the coroner said there is nothing anyone could have done. 

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No one was home at the time of Dion's death, but Jennifer Bush says Dion, wearing thin gym shorts and sandals, took one of their dogs outside (they've been breeding German shepherds for years) when he likely fell and somehow scared the Ully the dog, leading to the bite. 

“We don’t know if he tripped and maybe grabbed Ully and landed on him or his mouth was open,” Jennifer Bush told the Pioneer Press. “We don’t know if Ully got startled, and it took just that one tooth.”

Dion's obituary describes him as a "kind, loving and witty" animal lover who trained dogs and was "meticulous about his clothing." He loved to sing, read, play video games, walk his dog and was an adrenaline junkie. 

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