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Jeffy in happier times.

In a shocking pre-Christmas tragedy, local 6 year-old Jeff Keane, one of the stars of the popular but horrible comic strip The Family Circus, has been attacked and severely injured by giant dog Marmaduke, ironically the namesake of another syndicated comic, about the struggles of a family which owns an extremely large Great Dane, and beloved by Christians for its gentle good “humour”.

The boy, known as “Jeffy”, is currently in the Intensive Care Unit under the care of Rex Morgan, M.D., in serious but stable condition. His adorable little chubby-cheeked face, with its inquisitive eyes, is now a minefield of raw flesh, protruding bone, and seeping pustules.

Marmaduke, although known around the neighbourhood as something of a trouble-maker, has never been violent before today. Residents of the community were surprised. “I don’t understand it at all… sure, he’d sometimes get into my garden and dig up the flower bed, but he’s never hurt anyone before,” said Mr. Wilson, local octogenarian/curmudgeon, adding “I wonder if that Dennis boy from next door riled him up somehow?” The mauling occurred in the Keane’s backyard, which is gated and always locked, although not today. Asked if he knew who might have left the gate open, Jeffy’s older brother Billy would only answer “Not me!”

The dog is currently on the loose, leaving local dog-catchers concerned, since they’ve had numerous run-ins with the canine before, and usually been outsmarted. “It’s weird… for such a big dog, you’d think it would be hard for him to sneak up on you, but many’s the time I spent all day looking for him, only to find him somehow in the back of my wagon… and don’t get me started on the number of times he’s caught me in my comically over-sized butterfly net, which is how I normally capture strays,” said ASPCA representative Floyd. “To tell you the truth, I’m kinda looking forward to euthanizing the sonofabitch personally.”

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