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Police Question Owner of Akita Who Attacked Boy, 3; Dog Quarantined

Murrieta police Lt. Ron Driscoll said the owner of the Akita who attacked a 3-year-old in Lowe's was interviewed by police Sunday, and that the dog was quarantined and in custody of Animal Friends of the Valleys.

This Lowe's surveillance image—courtesy of Murrieta police—shows an Akita owner and his dog Dec. 28, 2013 in the garden center, where the dog reportedly attacked a 3-year-old boy.
This Lowe's surveillance image—courtesy of Murrieta police—shows an Akita owner and his dog Dec. 28, 2013 in the garden center, where the dog reportedly attacked a 3-year-old boy.

An Akita dog that attacked a 3-year-old boy Saturday in a Murrieta home-improvement store has been located and is in custody of animal control officials, a police lieutenant said Monday.

Murrieta police had released surveillance images in hopes of locating the dog and its owner, who allegedly fled following the incident that was reported at 11:40 a.m. Saturday in the garden center of Lowe’s, 24701 Madison Ave.

Murrieta police Lt. Ron Driscoll said the owner of the dog is a Murrieta resident who was interviewed by police Sunday, and that the dog was quarantined and in custody of Animal Friends of the Valleys.

Police are continuing their investigation; the man, whom police did not identify, had not been charged with a crime as of Monday.

“We still have interviews to conduct," Driscoll said. "It could range from an accident to an arrest-able offense. (It could be) assault if it is to the point of whether you know the dog has issues and it bites a person, now there is a recklessness to that."

When the incident occurred, the Akita was reportedly leashed as it “lashed out” at the boy, Murrieta police Sgt. Jay Froboese said.

The boy was rushed by ambulance to Inland Valley Regional Medical Center, then to a hospital in San Diego to be treated for several deep puncture wounds to his neck, jaw, forehead and below his right eye, police said, requiring dozens of stitches.

Driscoll described the injuries as moderate.

The lieutenant could not say whether the boy was near his parents when the incident occurred.

A Lowe’s representative told Patch Monday that the company was aware of the incident.

“My understanding is that an adult who was with the child notified the store management team when the incident occurred,” said Karen Cobb, spokeswoman for Lowe’s. “Law enforcement was also notified and we are working with them.”

As to whether dogs are permitted in Lowe’s, Cobb said only if they are service animals.

“Our policy is that for safety and sanitary reasons, no animals other than service animals are permitted in Lowe’s,” Cobb said. “It is clearly posted; our stores do have signs posted on the front entrance indicating that service animals are the only animals permitted.”

Keith Haworth December 30, 2013 at 07:17 PM
He left the scene and wasn't arrested, that is pretty amazing!
Chris December 30, 2013 at 07:17 PM
What a POS! You win bud, you are the biggest scumbag in the Valley! Not only are you a moron for bringin your stupid dog into a store, you dumdum attack a child and then you run away? Too bad nobody grabbed a shovel and smacked some sense into you! Here's hoping you get the book smashed down on you. Take your mutt and your lack of character and leave this valley. Can't wait to see your name in the bright lights
Julian B Duron December 30, 2013 at 08:19 PM
This POS fled the scene of a crime. Assault by vicious dog not rendering aid and fleeing is a criminal act. THIS SOB should be arrested and locked up at least for a few days! I hope the family of this child takes this scumbag to civil court.
Nancy December 30, 2013 at 08:20 PM
We were not there, so we do not know the whole story, the whole story of the incident! We do not know if the child was away from the adult and was scaring the dog or threatening it! Usually a dog will not strike out unless it feels threatened in some way. Maybe the child ran toward them real fast and the dog was in defense mode to protect the owner and/or himself. Yes, if the dog was in the store, that should not be allowed because some people are terrified of dogs and it puts them in an uncomfortable situation to shop. At Petco and Petsmart, customers are already aware that the pets will be inside. As far as the man leaving, don't know if he knew the boy was bitten. I love all animals and it is 99.9% never their fault; it is the irresponsibility of the owner not paying attention to what their pets are doing! That dog got in trouble for doing what comes natural to it=protect! The dog should have been left in the car unless it was just out temporarily on its leash to go potty! So hard to judge and guess when I was not there to be eye witness to it!
orange December 30, 2013 at 08:37 PM
The dog should not have been in the store, and the owner should not have left the scene. I see dogs in many stores, and store employees says nothing. When I mention it, I just get stared at. Trader Joe's, Costco, Walmart, and Stater Brothers are among my list. I don't like animals near food I am going to buy.
Fisher Lady December 30, 2013 at 08:39 PM
I don't understand why people can't make a trip to the store without bringing their dogs. I am a dog lover, have 3 of my own, but I don't feel compelled to take them into stores, or leave them in cars while I go into stores. Now, I might be talking a little out of school, because I'm about to make a 600 miles trek with 2 of my dogs. Clearly, they won't be allowed to go into stores, and I might have to leave them in the car for short periods, but only for as quickly as I can get in or out. BUT!!! If my dog ever bit anyone, let alone a child, I would NOT run away.
Sandra Montgomery December 30, 2013 at 08:40 PM
Don't dare blame the child. A three year old is barely out of babyhood! Any dog that will bite a child is a dog that needs to be put down. And the owner needs to be arrested for taking the dog into a public place when it is aggressive. Period.
wildomar resident December 30, 2013 at 08:42 PM
When will people learn that running away is NEVER a solution? Common sense dictates that stores have cameras and someone will recognize you. I hope the little boy is okay and I hope that the dog does not have to lose his life due to his stupid owner.
Brent Snow December 31, 2013 at 12:14 AM
I feel bad for both child and dog. I hope the child heals, and the dog lives.
spike December 31, 2013 at 02:45 PM
"his POS fled the scene of a crime. Assault by vicious dog not rendering aid and fleeing is a criminal act. THIS SOB should be arrested and locked up at least for a few days! I hope the family of this child takes this scumbag to civil court. " Actually they will take Lowes to court if it happened inside the store area. Failure on Lowes part to enforce the policy on pets. Thats what I would do anyway. As far as the owner, yep he should be locked up. The dog should be put down.
John B. December 31, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Look at the picture. You can see the arrogance. I see guys like this all the time using dangerous dogs to project their phoney manhood. This man clearly thinks he can do whatever he wants. He's cowardly for running away, but I'll be he just hopes someone will say something to him so he can start something with them. Why is it that we have zero tolerance on stupid ignorant things and yet all the tolerance in the world for incidents like this. Does every store have to post a No dogs sign?
Pauly December 31, 2013 at 10:04 PM
I once had a dog that I was a little nervous about around kids, especially when they tried to grab his tail, like kids do. So when kids would ask if my dog bites, I would tell them " Only if you put your hand out, or your face too close" This is clearly a case of a dumbass owner, I hope the dog doesent have to die for his stupidity.
Ken January 02, 2014 at 06:40 PM
Nancy, FYI- Akitas were a special breed developed by the Japanese during WWII for the sole pupose of killing. They are a extremely aggressive breed of dog even more so than even a pit bull. I have a neighbor that breeds them and claims they are gentle. BS. His 3 year old daughter was attacked by one of his dogs while playing in the front yard with a barbie doll. The dog latch on to the childs neck and began to chew. The kid never seen the attack coming since the dog attacked her from behind. Get online and and go to ask.com and type in Akita dogs. There you will find that they specifically warn about having children under ahe 12 near or around akitas because they see them as bait. My neighbor 2 doors down said I didn't know what I was talking about till the neighbor between us that breeds the akitas dog dug under the fence to get at her little terrier dog and killed it. I've seen the neighbors dogs go at one another shredding each one apart several times. Akitas can't even be kept in a kennal with another akita because they will fight till one or the other is dead. I also seen the lady next door get attacked by her own akitas. They chewed up her arms, legs and part of her face. She pleaded with me to come in to her yard and help save her. And that wasn't going to happen. So I took a garden hose and turned on the water full blast and reached over the fence and shoved it down the dogs throat and he still refused to quit chewing her apart. She finally was able to grasp a dog chain and beat the dog with it before he would let go of her other arm. And the idiot still has 4 akitas in separate cages in her back yard and all you can hear is themgrowling and one another all day long. I live in constant fear that they will some day get loose and attack my 3 little dogs. She won't have to worry about me sueing her as the other neighbor did. All she will need to figure out is were to bury her 4 akitas when I finish with them.
Stacey January 07, 2014 at 08:12 AM
Ken- FYI I have no idea where you have gotten your false information about the Akita breed?! They originated from Japan as a hunting dog like most other dogs. They are NOT killing dogs, they are not always good with other dogs. But as all dogs they are subject to their upbringing. I kinda feel sorry for you that you hate dogs so much.

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