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Wolf hybrid linked to baby's death
Public safety: Boise police suspect animal attacked 13-month-old in the living room of residence in Boise

Idaho Press-Tribune staff

Apr. 29, 2003

BOISE - Boise police suspect a wolf hybrid killed a 13-month-old baby this weekend while his mother was sleeping in another room.

Police said the baby, Andre Angel Thomas, died early Sunday at a home in the 2200 block of Frederic Street in Boise. The child's mother had put him on a couch to sleep a few hours earlier, but investigators said the baby and animal were found on the floor after the attack.

The animal believed to be responsible for this death is a wolf hybrid, 90 percent wolf and 10 percent malamute, officers said.

A man who had just moved into the residence is an acquaintance of the child's 19-year old mother, Starla Thomas of Mountain Home. Police were called when he found the baby had been attacked by his roommate's dog.

Thomas told officers she put her baby to sleep on the couch shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday and went to bed in a nearby bedroom. No one reported hearing the dog attack the baby.

Ada County paramedics responded to the home about 3:30 a.m. Sunday. Attempts were made to revive the child through CPR but were unsuccessful.

An autopsy on the child concluded he likely died from a bite to the neck that tore the left jugular vein, police said. Investigators also reported that the dog likely nipped the baby hundreds of times. Boise Police said that no charges had been filed as of Monday afternoon but the case was still under investigation.

Fate of dog

The dog has been turned over to Animal Control officials, where its fate has not yet been decided. A check of Animal Control records indicates one previous bite complaint was filed against the dog. The bite was reported to officials on Nov. 30, 2002. The dog was quarantined for 10 days before being released to its owner.



Baby boy attacked by wolf hybrid
Anna Rau
Idaho's NewsChannel 7

Animal control officers are getting ready to put down a wolf hybrid thatthey say attacked and killed a 13-month-old baby boy. The dog is a one and a half year old wolf hybrid named "Koa". The owner who didn't want to go on camera says "Koa" is 75% wolf, but police say she's 90%.

Investigators say Koa lived at this home on Frederic Street with her owner. And they say the new renter, 28-year-old Brandon Jenkins had moved in on Saturday, and he had a 19-year-old girl named Starla Thomas over with her 13-month-old son. Thomas and Jenkins reportedly left the child alone, asleep on the couch in the living room with Koa.  At some point, the dog attacked the baby, dragging him off the coach, biting his neck, puncturing his jugular and nipping him hundreds of times.

Investigators say they may eventually file charges in connection with the dog attack if they determine anyone was negligent. The also say alcohol and marijuana were present in the home. But Jenkins says Thompson only drank part of a beer and that both of them were sleeping close enough to hear the baby if he cried. Jenkins believes Koa choked the baby when she bit into his neck so the baby could not cry out. He also says Thompson is a wonderful mother who loved her son dearly.

Jenkins is the one who found the baby and tried to resuscitate him. And this isn't the first time Koa has bitten a child. Now that Boise family is counting their blessings that the attack on their 7-year-old son wasn't any worse.  "Two lacerations on top of the head and some just scratch marks and he had one big one like this deep in here." Jason Lathim says, describing
the injuries Kao inflicted on their son, Alec. It was just about 5 months ago that the Lathims were helping a friend move when their son had a violent run-in with Koa. "It made me sick to may stomach all day long, I was just thinking that could very well be my son." Jason Lathim said. Lathim says he doesn't want to think about what could've happened to 7 year old Alec if he hadn't gotten there in time.

He says they were helping a friend move in the basement of the home on Frederic street when he heard Alec screaming. "It looked as though he was playing at first and I got closer and started to run towards him saw that he was actually biting him." Lathim said. "He leaped up off his hind legs and put his paws and legs on my shoulders on to me and pushed me down on my knees and starting clawing and biting all over my head." Alec said. Lathim says they believe Koa was just playing and didn't know he was playing too rough.

"We do not recommend wolf hybrids we do not recommend the breeding of them and the owning of them at all." Dee Fugit with the Idaho Humane Society said. Fugit says they've never had a case of a wolf hybrid killing a child before. But she says hybrids by nature can be extremely dangerous and need special care. "We do not adopt them from our shelter knowing that they are wolf hybrids at all, we euthanize them."

"It shocked me to hear that the dog caused anything, specially someone's death." Neighbor Irwin Jassen said.  Jassen says Koa would often try to play with his cats and he was shocked
when he heard what had happened. As for the Lathims they were shocked too they had decided not to push to have Koa put down, because they thought it would never happen again. "It was just something that we didn't feel that the dog had to be put down.  But its maybe a mistake on our part, but we didn?t have any idea that it would happen again." Lathim said.

Animal control officers plan to put Koa down and then take forensic evidence from her teeth.


Boise Man on Trial After Wolf Hybrid Kills Child
June 28, 2004
The trial of a Boise man whose wolf hybrid killed a young child last year is underway in  State District Court.

Hybrid owner Thomas E. Cleverly is charged with involuntary manslaughter. His wolf hybrid attacked 13 month old Andre Angel Thomas as the child slept on a couch in April 2003.  Cleverly's neighbor testified he tried to warn about the animal's behavior.  "I told him that the dog was trying to chase the kids or attack them, it looked like the dog was stalking children," said Lonnie Baxter.

At the time of the attack, detectives said the animal killed the child as the boy was sleeping on the living room couch.  The child's mother and a male friend were sleeping in another room.

The animal has since been euthanized.

The trial is expected to last all week.


   Wolf hybrid owner found not guilty in toddler's death
      10:35 AM MDT on Friday, July 2, 2004

BOISE -- A Boise man charged with involuntary manslaughter in a case where his wolf hybrid killed a 13-month-old baby boy has been found no guilty. Koa was euthanized shortly after he attacked and killed 13-month-old Andre Thomas on April 27, 2003.

The hybrid's owner, Thomas Cleverly, was not home when the April 27, 2003 attack happened, but the state charged Cleverly because prosecutors said he knew the pet was in the house with the toddler.

Investigators say Andre Angel Thomas was asleep on the couch when the
hybrid bit him on the neck and punctured the boy's jugular vein. He was
bitten more than 100 times.

A jury of ten men and three women heard three days of testimony, which at times was very gruesome. Cleverly did not take the stand during the trial. The jury deliberations lasted about three hours.

Cleverly let out a big sigh of relief as the verdict was read.   Afterwards he had this to say to NewsChannel 7 -- "I still feel like I am sitting there waiting for the verdict, I really do. This is a dream state, I am not aware. My heart hasn't slowed down, I haven't been breathing for three days. I really don't know, I can't talk."
Prosecuting attorney Shelley Armstrong expressed her disappointment at
the outcome. "We thought it was an important case to bring and we would
do it again, but in this specific fact situation the jury didn't believe that it was reckless," Armstrong said. 

And although Cleverly got the verdict he wanted, he said there were no winners in this case. "It's just been a very sad, sad situation, and I am extremely sorry to both sides, to the prosecutor, just sorry to everyone."     

Andre's mother, Starla Thomas of Mountain Home, has already pled guilty to felony injury to a child and is awaiting a July 29th sentencing.  She was at the house with Cleverly's roommate when the attack happened, but not in the same room.  The hybrid named Koa was euthanized shortly after the attack.\7c3000b.html



How could this tragedy have been averted? 

Responsible owners and responsible parents seem to be at a premium in our society. A Home Check would have made it clear to a responsible breeder that this was not a proper home for the animal.


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