Authorities are seeking a destruction order against an Akita who bit the face of a 7-year-old girl whose family was hoping to adopt the dog from a private kennel in Riverside County, officials said Friday.
Since 2013, there have been at least five other serious bites involving dogs at or from the same kennel and rescue center in an unincorporated area east of Perris, with two occurring last year, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services said in a news release.
The most recent incident happened around noon Sunday inside the kennel at 28930 Ellis Ave., which serves as the home base for A Passion for Paws Akita Rescue.
The girl suffered puncture wounds on the right side of her face after a 2-year-old, male Akita lunged at and bit her, according to Animals Services.
The girl underwent three hours of surgery for her injuries, which required roughly 1,000 sutures, authorities said.
The organization the victim’s family sought to adopt from specializes in saving Akitas from Southern California shelters, including the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, the agency said.
The Akita in Sunday’s incident came from a shelter in the Los Angeles area. He had lived in that shelter about a month before being rescued by A Passion for Paws in early February.
Other incidents involving the same rescue include a man who returned a dog he adopted after being attacked and suffering bite wounds in both arms in November 2017. Last February, a similar incident occurred in which a man returned a dog after being bitten in his hands and arms, authorities said.
Animal Services subsequently issued dangerous dog restraining orders for both canines.
On Sunday, an Animal Services officer responded to the kennel and placed the dog involved into quarantine. The officer asked the rescue’s owner if she’d surrender the dog for euthanasia, but the owner declined and told authorities the dog is not aggressive and has no history of aggressive behavior.
But because of the severity of the attack, the officer and her supervisor sought to obtain a destruction order for the dog at a public hearing on Thursday.
Animal Services Director Allan Drusys said the move was made to protect the public from dogs that “may not be suitable for adoptions.”
“We respect all of our rescue partners very much. These groups are helping us save lives,” Drusys said in a statement. “But it’s critical that everyone recognize that some breeds may not be a good pet, especially for households with children.”
The hearing included testimony from the victim’s father, via telephone, Animal Services said.
Officials say a representative for the rescue who did not witness the attack also testified, alleging the girl put her face to the dog’s face and the 7-year-old’s parents had been advised against such actions.
The independent hearing officer has yet to issue a decision in the case, but told Animal Services one could be expected Friday or, at the latest, Monday.