A 5-year-old boy suffered severe bite wounds to his head on Saturday evening when he and his 11-year-old companion were mauled by a Pit Bull in Indio, CA, KESQ reported.
Indio is a small city in Riverside County, located approximately 27 miles east of popular resort city Palm Springs and 127 miles east of Los Angeles.
Riverside County Animal Services reports that an Animal Control Officer responded to a location on Avenue 43 in Indio--near Burr Street and south of Interstate--on Saturday at about 7:30 p.m., after receiving a call from the Indio Police Department about the incident, reports the Banning-Beaumont Patch.
Local resident Eddie Cardenas told KESQ reporters that his two nephews had started to go to the park on Saturday but decided to first stop at a friend's house on Avenue 43.
Careenas said that the young friend’s mother was standing behind him when he opened the door to greet them, and she had their 4-year-old Pit Bull, Cucuy, on a leash. However, the dog broke loose and attacked both of his nephews.
Among other injuries, the 5-year-old suffered severe bites to the back of his head. The child was taken to Loma Linda Hospital, where he received 61 stitches and 21 staples for injuries that were described as “serious” by Riverside County Animal Services spokesman John Welsh.
The 11-year-old suffered numerous bites to his stomach and hands, but the wounds were more superficial. He was treated and released.
Cardenas said his 5-year-old nephew is not doing well and is still traumatized by the attack.
SAME PIT BULL ATTACKED IN APRIL
Cardenas stated he has continuing concerns because this same dog had attacked before. In April, the animal bit the dog owner's son in the head. Animal Services had impounded the dog but it was released back to the owner after a public hearing, with a “potentially dangerous dog restraining order” against it.
The dog owner's family told CBS Local 2/News Channel 3, they had never had issues with the dog prior to the April attack. They say they kept the dog because it had been neutered the day before, and they believed that may have made the animal aggressive.
RIVERSIDE/INDIO SEE RECENT RISE IN DOG ATTACKS
Frank Corvino, Deputy Director with Riverside County Animal Services, said that over the past three months there has been an increase in Pit Bull attacks in the county. They've recorded 358 dog attacks so far--71 of which involved Pit Bulls.
Indio has had 23 dog attacks just since May, involving 8 pit bulls--17 of the victims were adults, 6 of them were either children or teens, he said.
Corvino told KESQ that these types of dogs were bred over time to bite.
"If you're going to own that type of breed you need to be educated on it, you need to know what to do with it if folks come by; you need to know your dog inside and out, and be aware of the genetics," he told KESQ..
The boys’ uncle, Eddie Cardenas, said the dog owner was very concerned and visited the family to check on the boys.
They had surrendered the Pit Bull and Animal Services humanely euthanized the animal, the Patch reported.
"It makes me feel a little better, I guess, that they actually got rid of the dog," Cardenas said.