Friday, December 24, 2010

Family Pit Bull Attacks Toddler

A toddler in Riverside suffered injuries to her face and head after being attacked by the family pit bull. Riverside County Animal Services Captain Tammie Belmonte said officers responded to a call Wednesday night involving an attack. Officers and emergency responders with the city of Riverside initially handled the 911 call from the residence in the 9500 block of Arlington Avenue.

Animal Control Officer Lorena Barron made contact with the victim's parents at Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center in Riverside. Due to the severity of the injuries, the victim was later transferred to the Loma Linda University Medical Center.

The parents were not home when the attack occurred, but their 2-year-old daughter was under the supervision of a grandmother and aunt. Tonka, a 3-year-old male American bull dog mix, was looking "oddly" at the toddler immediately before the attack, the aunt told Officer Barron.

Tonka attacked the girl and pinned her against a television. The aunt jumped up to separate the dog from her niece, according to Officer Barron's report. The aunt pulled the dog away and shielded her niece. Tonka then attacked her, biting her right calf.

Although the attack was apparently unprovoked, a second dog at the residence, a 5-year-old female Australian shepherd named Coby, was believed to be in heat, Captain Belmonte said. The American bull dog's behavior could have been more unpredictable due to the female dog's fertility signals, Belmonte said.

The parents signed over both dogs for euthanasia. Neither pet had been sterilized, vaccinated or licensed. The American bull dog mix will be sent to a lab to test him for rabies.


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