Man’s family tells other side of Breckenridge dog attack | SummitDaily.com

Man’s family tells other side of Breckenridge dog attack

Elise Reuter
ereuter@summitdaily.com

Breckenridge Police released images of golden retriever who allegedly bit and seriously injured a six-year-old girl in December. Two felony assault charges against the dog owner were dropped on Monday.

A Fort Collins man's family is contesting allegations related to a dog attack last week. Breckenridge police reported that Alec Peyton, 23, was arrested on Saturday, two days after his golden retriever allegedly bit a six-year-old girl in the face, resulting in serious injury.

Alec Peyton was arrested with charges of child abuse, a class-three felony, reckless endangerment and unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog. Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown said that for the child abuse charge to stand, the office must prove "knowing or reckless behavior" by Alec Peyton.

For example, the owner would need to have prior knowledge of the dog's behavior and allow an individual at risk of being injured to come into contact with it. Brown said the parent asked if the child could approach the dog prior to the incident and that the owner knew the dog had a tendency to bite.

However, Alec relayed the events to his mom, Cynthia, after the incident. Cynthia Peyton later explained to the Daily that a large group of four adults and several children approached the dog without asking. She said they talked to Alec while he was sitting with the dog on a leash outside of the Village at Breckenridge.

"They walked up, surrounded him and started petting Bentley," Cynthia Peyton said. "The little girl wrapped her arms around Bentley, and he bit her."

At that point, Breckenridge reported that Alec Peyton left the scene with the dog and located him in Fort Collins two days later.

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Cynthia Peyton noted they left after the parents started shouting, and the manager of the hotel also told him to leave.

"My son was traumatized," Cynthia Peyton said. "Our family is doing everything we can to be forthcoming in support of this little girl."

After returning to Fort Collins, she said Alec Peyton took his dog to the Larimer County Humane Society and turned himself into the police.

Ben Barnhart with the Larimer Humane Society confirmed that the shelter had taken the golden retriever in for bite confinement. He said after a veterinarian evaluation, the dog would be returned to its owner, though they had not conducted a behavioral evaluation.

"We are really devastated about the little girl first and foremost," Cynthia Peyton said. "It was a horrible incident."

"All I know is when I saw a picture of that little girl, it broke my heart," Deputy district attorney John Franks said, confirming the girl was hospitalized for her injuries.

Attempts to reach the victim's family were unsuccessful. The Summit Daily has filed an open records request for the arrest affidavit, which should contain additional detail on the alleged attack.