3 Pit Bulls Taken from San Diego Apartment after Baby Killed

| by Denise A Justin

Although a neighbor said they were “well behaved—except for killing a couple of cats,” three Pit Bulls were removed from a Lemon Grove, California, rental unit on Friday evening after a dog attack ended the life of an 8-month-old baby boy.

The tragic incident occurred in the 3500 block of West Street, in what was described as a “blue-collar area.” San Diego Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Larry Nesbit told reporters that at least one of the Pit Bulls was involved in the fatal attack on the infant just before 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 14.

When deputies and paramedics arrived, a woman was cradling the severely injured baby in her arms, deputies told 10 News. The child was rushed to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego and died within one hour.

Lieutenant Nesbit advised 10News that, “Because the incident involved the sudden or unexpected death of an infant, the sheriff's homicide detail assumed the investigation." Investigators have interviewed a reported four residents of the rental unit where the attack occurred. The Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. Border Control will also be involved in the investigation.

The name of the tiny victim was not disclosed by officials. The County Medical Examiner’s Office stated that the record is “sealed” at this time at the request of the Sheriff’s office.

However, reports that Anika Grothe, a case manager for a nonprofit that helps struggling women, knows the mother and her son, Tyzhel. Grothe said, “The mother has experienced abuse and homelessness and was working to provide for herself and her baby." Grothe told 10News that she had tried to comfort the mother, but "she's totally in shock; total devastation. This was her only child, her only baby."

All three Pit Bulls in the rental unit were males and believed to belong to the mother and one of her roommates. According to two of the dogs were between 2 and 3 years of age and the other was about 6 years old. Officials had not yet determined if they are neutered. .

The Pit Bulls were taken to the Chula Vista Animal Shelter and will be quarantined for ten days to assure they do not have rabies, according to Anne Steinberger, Communications Manager for Chula Vista, which provides animal-control services for Lemon Grove.

If they are deemed dangerous, which Steinberger said will most likely be the case, they will be euthanized, reported That determination will be based on the findings of the sheriff’s investigation. “We do not know what happened in that room,” Steinberger said. “Obviously the worst possible thing happened. We will do everything possible to protect the public,” she said.

The Chula Vista Animal Care Facility had received no prior reports of viciousness or aggressiveness on the part of the three pit bulls, Steinberger said.

Dan DeSousa, spokesman for San Diego County Animal Services stated that there are more dog-bite reports to the County agency involving Pit Bulls than any other breed but that could stem from the popularity of Pit Bulls in the San Diego area. San Diego County allows six dogs per residence.


One year ago, on June 24, 2011, a family pit bull attacked a one-year-old child in a home in Chula Vista, which adjoins Lemon Grove and is the second largest city in the San Diego, CA, metropolitan area. It was the third attack in San Diego in one week, according to The baby was reportedly taken to the hospital. No further details were available.

The family had five dogs living in the house with the child. A family member confirmed the dog that attacked was a Pit Bull and described it as aggressive. The dog was euthanized by animal control.

According to U.S. Postal Service records, San Diego was the second most dangerous city in the country for letter carrier attacks in 2010 and 2011. San Diego Postal Service reported 11 carrier attacks occurred in Chula Vista in 2010.