The original news release is below, but I wanted to update some information. I spoke with the victim’s mother briefly today and she wanted to have some information corrected. Her daughter conveyed to her that the attack occurred/started inside the house and continued outside, in the backyard, after the dog pulled her out a back door, she said.
We should note that when our officer arrived at the property, the dog was in the backyard inside a pen of some type. The owner had informed us that the dog was tethered and located in the backyard when the attack occurred. The mother told us that was incorrect.
In our line of work, where a dog bite/attack occurs is good information; but we’re less concerned about the where versus our No. 1 priority: seizing an aggressive dog or – with the owner’s permission – removing a dog that caused serious injuries to a person.
Nonetheless, we believed it was important to update this story because the mother and family of the victim is facing unfortunate backlash on social media. We won’t get into the details of the backlash here, but you can imagine what people are saying.
Our officers always must take what people tell us at face value and we hope they are being truthful and honest, such as when we were informed that the dog was tethered in the backyard. Regardless, it’s seriously unfortunate that people took upon social media to target this poor mother of a child that endured a horrific attack.
Our thoughts are with her and her child as she recovers from her injuries.
Finally, several media outlets reached out to me to try to interview the mother. I tried to coordinate those requests, but the family does have legal representation now and the mother informed me that she would have to seek guidance from her attorney regarding those media requests. If anything changes on that front, I will provide the family/attorney with the contact information for the reporters that made those requests.
A dog attacked a toddler at a property in unincorporated Hemet on Saturday (April 2) that resulted in serious injuries.
The incident occurred at about 3:30 p.m. in the 41000 block of Mayberry Avenue in a neighborhood east of Hemet.
The victim, a 3-year-old girl, suffered bite wounds to her face, arms and stomach area. She was transported to an area hospital and later to the Loma Linda University Medical Center.
Ultimately, she received 180 stitches on her face and additional stiches in her hip area. She has since been released from the hospital.
Emergency responders, including the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, were on scene when Officer Mike McGee of Riverside County Animal Services responded to seize the dog, a male, 2-year-old pit bull mix.
The dog was believed to have been tethered at the time of the incident.
“We are uncertain how she wandered into the backyard and if she was unattended, but we’re convinced that this dog would have killed her if it had not been tethered,” Animal Services Lt. Lesley Huennekens said. “It’s horrible what happened to this girl.”
The house and property is believed to be used as a day care center, Lt. Huennekens said, and this was believed to be the girl’s second visit to the site.
Officer McGee described the dog as powerful and aggressive during the impound. Even though he had the dog on a control stick, the dog lunged for one of his legs and, fortunately, only managed to get his pants, he said.
The dog is currently in a protective custody kennel at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley.
Animal Services will hold the dog 10 days, pending a request from the owner to protest the seizure.