A pit bull was shot and killed after it attacked two kids in a San Bernardino, California, neighborhood. While the children’s aunt is calling the man a hero, the dog’s owners are angry at him for putting the pit bull down.
It was about 2:40 p.m. when the children were outside playing and the neighbor’s dog approached them. One of the children who was bitten told NBC LA that when the dog first started attacking them, they tried to run away, but they couldn’t get away from it.
The children’s aunt, Maria Ramirez, then picked up a kid’s scooter lying nearby and tried hitting the dog with it in an attempt to get it to leave the children alone, but her efforts were in vain as the dog continued to attack the kids.
Lt. Paul Williams of the San Bernardino Police Department said at that point a neighbor, who witnessed the attack and does not wish to be identified, came outside to help the children. There are conflicting reports about whether the man came out armed or returned back inside his home to grab his shotgun. Either way, at first the man was able to get the dog to go away by just yelling at it and shooing it away, which at least gave the kids a chance to escape. But when the dog came right back and then began growling at the man and circling him, fearing that the pit bull would either attack him or the children again, he shot and killed it.
“He was defending himself and those two children,” Williams said.
No charges are expected to be filed against the neighbor, which the initial investigation indicates acted in self-defense.
However, that might not be the case for the owners of the pit bull. “They may face charges,” Williams said. Yet the owners say that it wasn’t the dog’s fault but rather the children’s fault, claiming that they provoked the pit bull.
The CBS affiliate reported that the dog broke through an iron fence, which separates the yard from the sidewalk. The dog was killed just outside of its yard. However, animal control is said to be investigating the incident to determine whether the dog owner’s acted negligently, therefore putting the children’s lives in danger.
While Ramirez is grateful that her neighbor was there to protect the children, she admitted that she still has concerns over another pit bull that lives on the property.
Fortunately, the children from Sunday’s incident were not badly injured, and according to police, left the hospital very quickly. However, a 2-year-old child in nearby Colton was not so lucky when he was viciously mauled by a pack of pit bulls last month. The toddler had been missing for a half an hour when his lifeless body was found in the yard with the dogs, who had so brutally attacked him that his entire face and neck were missing.
The child died from the injuries and both his grandmother and uncle were charged with felony child endangerment.
This incident, along with a whole slew of similar attacks, prompted Riverside County to propose an ordinance that would require owners of pit bulls and pit bull mixes to have the animals sterilized by the time they are four months old.
The proposed ordinance stemmed from two main reasons. First being that there is an overabundance of unwanted pit bulls, which make up roughly 20 percent of the dogs turned over to animal shelters and about 30 percent, equating to literally thousands, of the dogs that are euthanized. Secondly, and of greater concern, is the belief that these animals pose a public safety threat, as the number of these types of attacks continue to grow.
The ordinance was unanimously passed on Tuesday.