ST. PAUL (WCCO) — An 8-year-old boy is recovering from an attack that required dozens of stitches.

Aharon Atlas says a large dog bit him in St. Paul last week and city leaders say this encounter should serve as a reminder for parents and dog owners.

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“I got in the ambulance and I was rushed to the hospital and went to the ER and they put some gel on my eye and put some eye drops in there,” Atlas said.

Atlas only weighs 90 pounds. His mom says a female dog named Spirit, which weighs 120 pounds, attacked Atlas when he entered the downstairs apartment where the dog lives.

Atlas has more than 50 small stitches in his face, but says he feels OK. He had this advice for other kids.

“When you go up to a dog, you always have to be aware of what might happen, so brace yourself,” he said.

Spirit’s owners say she is a gentle dog with kids in their family. They are afraid the dog might be put down when the city finishes its investigation of the incident.

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“The dog plays with the baby,” said Sarah Wilhelm, daughter of the dog owner. “The dog will come let me know if the baby is crying.”

Wilhelm said whatever happens, the family wants to avoid putting the dog down.

“It’s about saving her life at this point,” she said. “My mom doesn’t necessarily want her any more, it’s just to the point of saving her life. We don’t want her put down.”

The city will keep Spirit in quarantine for 10 days and she may be released back to the family with requirements like micro-chipping, a fenced yard or a muzzle.

“Any dog can have problems. It’s all about being a responsible pet owner,” said Angie Wiese from the City of St. Paul.

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Atlas and his mom both say they do not want Spirit to live in their building ever again.