The father of a young boy who was bitten on the face by a dog says he’s relieved to learn the animal has been returned to the shelter where it came from, which is in another province.

Two weeks ago, Corey Sexton’s four-year-old son was playing basketball with his older brother out front of the family’s home in Chateauguay, Que., a Montreal suburb, when their neighbour walked by with their Golden Retriever.

Sexton said the neighbour allowed his young son to pet the dog when he asked for permission. After about a minute, the father said the Golden Retriever “just snapped” and bit his son’s face.

The young boy suffered a deep gash to the side of his face, which required 12 stitches.

“I believe that dog should be put down, especially because of the severity of the situation,” Sexton told CTV Montreal last week. “It wasn’t just a nip.”

Janice Stephens, the dog’s owner, said she got it from a shelter in Ontario that rescued the animal from Egypt a few months earlier. She acknowledged the dog isn’t well socialized, but she said she didn’t think it was dangerous or that it should be euthanized.

After the incident, Sexton said he called police to inform them of the incident. Police said they were unable to intervene because they weren’t called to the scene at the time of the attack and because Sexton didn’t want to press charges.

However, officers paid Sexton a visit 12 days later to get him to file a police report after he said they saw photos of his son’s injury.

“When they saw the photos they were shaken up also,” Sexton said. “They didn’t believe that it was to that severity because the photos clearly indicate a lot of damage.”

Chateauguay Mayor Pierre Paul Routhier said the police were slow to respond because the hospital failed to inform the city of the attack. The city has the authority to call on police to seize dogs for evaluation if they’re considered dangerous.

“I know what police are all about, they have to get a report, they have to get a complaint or something of that nature, but if someone is calling a police department saying ‘I don’t want to file a complaint, I just want to inform you,’ well that information should be sufficient in order for police to get something going,” Routhier said.

The day after Sexton filed a report with police on Monday, officers visited the neighbour’s home to seize the dog. However, when they arrived they learned the owner had already returned the animal to the Golden Rescue shelter in Ontario where she picked it up.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Barrie, Ont. shelter confirmed they had received the dog.

“The Golden has been returned. We have spoken to the police, who have spoken to the SPCA [Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] and they are satisfied with the steps we have taken with regard to the dog and they have indicated that they consider the case closed,” the statement read.

The shelter said they would assess the Golden Retriever and decide what to do with it from there.

The City of Chateauguay said police have notified Ontario Provincial Police about the dog.

As for Sexton, he said he’s satisfied the dog is no longer in his neighbourhood as he waits for his son to heal. The young boy is currently in hospital because his injury became infected. Sexton said his son may require plastic surgery depending on the severity of his scar.