A toddler was hospitalized Wednesday morning after the family's Pit Bull ripped off the child's left ear in the backyard of a Riverside County home, NBC News reports.
The dog, identified by authorities as a 2-year-old neutered, male Pit Bull, called Poncho, attacked when the boy was at his Jurupa Valley home with his grandmother, according to the Desert Sun.
His mother reportedly had gone shopping for groceries. The child, who is about 18 months old, was in the backyard with the dog when the grandmother, who was inside the house, heard screams.
The little boy was taken by ambulance to Loma Linda University Medical Center for treatment and was hospitalized with what authorities described as "severe injuries."
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The severed portion of the boy's ear was placed in a freezer, the grandmother said.
Riverside County Animal Services dispatched two officers to the home on Pontiac Avenue to retrieve the dog for euthanasia, at the request of the owners.
Neighbors were standing outside the home with baseball bats when animal services officers Will Luna and Tiffany Fuller arrived.
"They were standing outside with bats because they heard the attack and went out to help the boy," Officer Fuller said in a news release.
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She was uncertain if they actually had to use the baseball bats on the dog, or if the dog retreated from the child as they approached him.
The boy's mother told officers that the family had no serious issues previously with the dog, and it had never shown any signs of aggression. The dog was also calm when a Riverside Animal Control officer used an animal control pole to take it to his truck for transport to the shelter.
"It just broke my heart," Officer Fuller said about the attack, "He's just a baby--to see him in that shape, in that condition. He'll be scarred for life."
Sources: Desert Sun / Photo Credit: Screenshot