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A Riverside County Animal Services officer impounded a dog today (Saturday, Nov. 15) that was believed to have been involved in a serious bite on Friday at a park in the French Valley area.

Animal Control Officer Carra Mathewson impounded the dog, a 6-year-old Labrador mix, shortly before 3 p.m., after it was identified by a witness.

The dog attacked a 1-year-old boy at Primrose Park, causing serious injuries to his face. The toddler, who is just about a month shy of his second birthday, was with his mother and a friend of the mother's Friday when the attack occurred.

"Both the mother and the friend were close by when they heard the boy screaming," Riverside County Animal Services Sgt. Lesley Huennekens said. "We have been told that the dog seemingly came out of nowhere when the child was attacked."

The dog attacked the child sometime after 3 p.m.

"The friend reportedly helped grab the dog away from the child," Sgt. Huennekens said. "The boy's mother picked up her son and ran to her car and headed straight to a nearby hospital."

It was the mother's friend who helped authorities positively identify the dog. The property where the dog was located is on Starkey Court, in unincorporated Riverside County known as French Valley, northeast of Murrieta. The boy's mother remained at the hospital with her child.

Originally, the dog was described as a Rottweiler to Riverside County Animal Services.

The dog, named Dexter, will be impounded at the county's San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, pending a hearing to determine if the dog is safe enough to be returned to the owner.

Riverside County Animal Services could recommend a destruction order if the dog is believed to be too dangerous. As is the county's standard practice in similar dog bites and serious attacks, an independent hearing officer listens to the evidence presented and ultimately makes a ruling.

Animal Services does not have any record of any prior incidents regarding this particular dog. Dexter's owners had the dog currently licensed, vaccinated for rabies, micro-chipped and the dog was neutered.

Contact a Shelter

Western Riverside: (951) 358-7387 (PETS)
San Jacinto: (951) 358-7387
Coachella Valley: (760) 343-3644
Blythe: (760) 921-7857

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