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Animal Control Spares Life of Akita That Bit Toddler in Lowe's

Chester, a 3-year-old male neutered purebred Akita, was released to a rescue, which will seek to find the proper home for him, an animal control officer told Patch.

This surveillance image shows Chester the Akita and his owner following the incident at Lowe's in Murrieta. (Photo/Murrieta Police Department)
This surveillance image shows Chester the Akita and his owner following the incident at Lowe's in Murrieta. (Photo/Murrieta Police Department)

A quarantined Akita that bit a toddler in a Murrieta home improvement store was released to the custody of a rescue organization this week.

Chester, a 3-year-old neutered male purebred, had been held at Animal Friends of the Valleys’ shelter in Wildomar since the Dec. 28, 2013 incident at Lowe’s in Murrieta.

“We tested his temperament and we chose not to euthanize him,” said Monique Middleton, the animal control officer who handled the case.

Severe bite injuries to the neck, jaw and face sent the victim, a 3-year-old boy, to the hospital, but Middleton said Friday that he was healing. His parents declined to speak with media, she said.

Criminal charges are still pending against the owner of the dog, Robert Steven Kahn, 62, of Murrieta, according to John Hall of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

Kahn was walking the Akita inside the garden area of Lowe’s, 24701 Madison Ave. in Murrieta the morning of Dec. 28, 2013.

The dog was on a leash but lunged at the boy, biting his head, according to Murrieta police.

Kahn allegedly walked out of the garden area immediately after the incident occurred.

Store management called police to the scene, and surveillance video of the man and his dog was disseminated to media in an effort to locate him.

Meanwhile, the boy was transported to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego to be treated for his injuries.

Kahn was contacted by police the next day, at which point he turned the dog over to animal control for a mandatory quarantine period of 10 days.

Over a period of a few days, detectives discovered that the dog had bitten two other young children in recent months, according to Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad.

Kahn was arrested and jailed on suspicion of willfully causing bodily injury by animal, which is a felony. He was released the same day on $5,000 bond.

Middleton said that based on the dog’s history while under the care of Kahn, he should not be released back to his custody.

“One of those previous incidents happened in another business,” Middleton said. “So it was irresponsible for him to the dog into another business.”

She said he did the wise thing by turning the dog over to their custody.

“If he didn’t want to turn his dog over, then I would have taken him to court...I think he realized toward the end that he had a choice to possibly save his dog’s life,” Middleton said.

She said the rescue organization—A Passion For Paws in Romoland—will seek to find the right home for Chester, one where there are no children.

“The person who adopts him from the rescue will need to understand this breed...They do bite children," Middleton said.

Diane Clarke January 11, 2014 at 02:35 PM
Ridiculous, the dog should be put down and the POS owner prosecuted to teach him a lesson. Feel sorry for all those kids that were attacked.
TemeculaMom9 January 11, 2014 at 08:34 PM
It's reassuring to see that our Animal Control Services follow the same pattern that our judicial and Department of Corrections services implement.. Release vicious animals back into general population with the thought of "out of sight, out of mind". It's unfortunate to have to euthanize any animal but this case warrants it, just like the many criminals sitting on "the row". Such a pathetic resolution!
ChrisG January 11, 2014 at 10:12 PM
Insane. Who would want a dog like this?
Brenda January 12, 2014 at 07:10 AM
A dog has to be trained to everything! They react to sounds and fast movements with intensity because they hear so well and see so well. Hello dog whistle right? The two dogs that recently were fighting and the owners, a man and wife, went to break them up, the man was bitten horribly and bled out, and the wife was bitten horribly has survived. They were their dogs, their pets, and not a "biting breed". If a person decides to get a dog they have to be trained extensively and constantly, all the way up until they die. Their moods change as they get older, when they get neutured, change of home and yard, environment, they get depressed by another dog , person going or coming. They only know a few ways to act out and they sure cant tell anyone how they are feeling. Anyone who gets a dog and does NOT acclimate them to little children, whether or not they have children are not, should NOT get a dog. Or they need to make sure they have a 12ft fence of block, that dog never gets out and never ever comes in contact with a small child because its simple they will be scared of them, they will attack them, usually toddler size. Small children are loud, they screech, babies scream and cry with all sorts of different pitches, and little kids as us parents know just run around in circles, run down the street, ride their bikes, screeching all the way. Its the way little kids are. Dogs are not the only animals to bite, chase, or injure. Cats, do, horses, alot of large animals, and small ones are more likely to bite and not let go like yip yap dogs(small dogs). Who has seen a Cat attack a person? Or have been biten, jumped on and the cat does NOT let go? Oh I have. I have also seen someone attacked to neck and face, and cat claws are like fish hooks and do not come out easily. Cats we are not able to train like dogs. If we looked it up I would bet there are more cat bites then dog bites, but then those are probably not as reported. If an owner doesnt do the training then PUT A MUZZLE ON for a trip out(I do not believe in those, just another sign of laziness on the owners part). The owner is completely responsible not the dog, and for that reason the dog should not be punished by being killed. We as owners take on a responsibility of caring for our dogs, training them, exactly like we would our children. Animals need just as much attention love, lessons and acclimating to different things in life. However with our babies it might be the newness of walking on grass barefoot and to a dog it could be being introduced to a baby with both at young ages, younguns knowing not to act a certain way around dogs. To keep quiet, serene, and gentle voice, gentle hands. And NEVER leave your dog or any pet alone with your child. Someone who adopts this dog who is devoted like a new owner should be will stop this dog from biting. Not a dog owner who buys her, tosses her in the backyard and remembers to toss her a bone once a month. There is one of those on every block right? I know that if she is given that opportunity and of course constantly watched (up close and personal) she would not bite anyone. No matter how well you think your animal is trained you still do not leave them alone, or use the dog you just picked up at the shelter as a baby sitter for Johnny right? Johnny go outside and play with your new dog while I watch soaps!! See them all the time :/
ChrisG January 12, 2014 at 08:51 AM
@brenda, why would you want a pet like this dog? What good is it to you if you have to constantly worry it will bit a child if you do not keep children away from it? I just don't see the value this animal would bring anyone except as a guard dog in a toy store.

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