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Police Arrest Owner of Akita That Bit 3-Year-Old in Lowe's

Robert Steven Kahn's identity was not immediately known because he allegedly took his dog and fled the scene of the incident that was reported at about 11:40 a.m. Saturday in the garden center of Lowe's in Murrieta.

Robert Steven Kahn (Jail booking photo/Riverside County Sheriff's Department)
Robert Steven Kahn (Jail booking photo/Riverside County Sheriff's Department)

The owner an Akita dog that bit a 3-year-old boy at Lowe’s in Murrieta, causing the boy to be hospitalized, was arrested Thursday.

Robert Steven Kahn, 62, of Murrieta, was booked into Southwest Detention Center on suspicion of willfully causing bodily injury by animal, a felony, according to Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad.

Kahn's identity was not immediately known because he allegedly took his dog and fled the scene of the incident that was reported at about 11:40 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 28 in the garden center of Lowe’s Home Improvement Center, 24701 Madison Ave.

Through surveillance images distributed to media, he was located Sunday and interviewed by Murrieta police detectives. Animal Friends of the Valleys responded to the man’s home and took the Akita into custody that same day, according to police.

Conrad said the decision to arrest Kahn was made after detectives—over the course of three days—discovered two prior incidents in which the dog was suspected of showing aggression toward young children.The previous incidents allegedly occurred during October and November of 2013 in Murrieta and involved two children, one 3 years old and the other 5 years old, the lieutenant said.

“Injuries from those two incidents were less severe and did not require hospitalization,” Conrad said. “They were not reported to the police department or animal control at the time they occurred.”

The dog remains quarantined at Animal Friends of the Valleys in Wildomar, Patch confirmed Thursday.

It was to remain in protective custody for 10 days following the incident, according to Willa Bagwell, executive director of AFV, which is contracted to provide animal control services for the City of Murrieta.

Bagwell indicated that what happens to the dog after that would depend on court proceedings.

“Right now nothing has been set up,” Bagwell said.

The boy suffered puncture wounds to his neck, jaw and face during Saturday’s attack. He was transported to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar before being transferred to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego for further treatment, including several stitches, police said. He is recovering from his injuries after being released from the hospital the next day.

Jail records indicated Kahn was arrested at around 11 a.m. Thursday at a residence on Madison Avenue, not far from Lowe's. He was released from jail Thursday afternoon by posting $5,000 bond, with a tentative court date set for Feb. 27.

According to Conrad, Murrieta police have submitted the charges to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, which will make the ultimate decision about whether to prosecute Kahn for a crime.

Animal Control Officer Monique Middleton told City News Service that "it will be up to the District Attorney's Office or the police department regarding what to do with the dog."

"He could be euthanized or placed with a (canine) rescue organization," Middleton said.

"After that, it will be up to the District Attorney's Office or the police department regarding what to do with the dog," Middleton said. "He could be euthanized or placed with a (canine) rescue organization."

A spokesperson for Lowe's told Patch following the incident that the only animals permitted inside its stores are service animals. Signs indicating that rule are posted at the front entrance of stores, according to Lowe's Spokeswoman Karen Cobb.

The dog was on a leash but lunged at the youngster and "bit him in the head," Conrad said.

"The father rushed to his son's aid and spoke with the dog's owner, (who) apologized and then left the garden center and into the parking lot of Lowe's, ultimately leaving the area," Conrad said.

Anyone with further information related to the case, such as witnesses or additional dog bite victims, were encouraged to contact Detective Jeremy Durrant by calling 951-461-6354.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

Liz Chandler January 02, 2014 at 07:32 PM
What a dangerous idiot of a human.
Shannan Buffolino January 02, 2014 at 07:56 PM
Why did he bring a huge dog inside lowes? Why did he allow a dog that bites get near people and a little kid inside a store that doesnt allow animals? Didnt an emplyee stop him? He went in through the garden center probably knowing he would be kicked out if he came through front..sneaky idiot..and sadly not this dogs fault that his owner is too stupid to know that a little kid in a store will expect the dog to be nice..anyone would..HE IS INSIDE A STORE WTH PEOPLE! Its like he was wanting the dog to bite the little boy..then he left as if it is all good? Kid bleeding ..and he only cared about getting the dog home safe and who cares if the kid is ok right? Stupid..ALL BIG STORES HAVE VIDEO ..kharma ..and i hope the little guy is ok..and also..guess what...lowes is also responsible..and will probably have a huge lawsuit.because this kid will fear dogs and traumatized at the least..i am hoping his injuries didnt cause too much physical damage. Permanente..i know he caused some mental for the little guy..:(
Zachary Edmundson January 03, 2014 at 01:05 AM
Agreed on everything except the notion that it's not the dogs fault too. Dogs know better, they're alot like people. Some are violent and attack people, most don't. There's no room in society for violent animals of any species.
Robert Coake January 03, 2014 at 11:15 AM
Dogs have been allowed at Lowe's for years that are nonservice dogs it's Lowe's fault stop blaming others for their stupid policies don't shop there. People who bring your dogs in the stores are not cute. You have to think of others.
ChrisG January 03, 2014 at 01:09 PM
This is on the dog owner. No one else. Apparently this is not the first incident with this animal. The owner is a dangerous fool. Dog needs to be put down.
Callitlikeitis January 03, 2014 at 08:03 PM
Robert Kahn is a P.O.S.! I hope we meet in a deserted area some day or night.
jillmann January 05, 2014 at 02:09 AM
The dog owner deserves the huge lawsuit. There was a sign stating only service dogs allowed. I'm so sick of zero personal responsibilities. Have you ever been an employee in customer service trying to tell somebody "please don't do that here its not allowed" and then got you're head bit off? Thats a tiny weeny part of why people take dogs where they aren't allowed. I see little dogs in restaurants and grocery stores all the time. I have 5 larger dogs and I am very respectful although I'd love to have at least one with me at all times. But the law says no. The guy did the wrong thing. All lowes did wrong? Didn't have a dedicated class to teach employees to notice and confront dogs in the nursery department or store? Nah. Lowes has deep pockets. But its the dude with the dog that fu.ked up. Not "lowes"
Deb January 06, 2014 at 07:56 AM
I've seen him in lowes before with another guy and two dogs , very scary !
Diana January 06, 2014 at 09:44 AM
I know I will be criticized for this comment but a majority of people do not have service dogs that bring them places. If the law would allow the businesses to ask for a doctors note, registration or some other form of documentation that the animal is a service animal the number of "service" animals would decrease tremendously. Unfortunately, it is against the law to ask for proof of the animal being a service animal and the business can be sued if they ask did proof. All a person has to say is "it's a service animal" and there is nothing that can be done.
ChrisG January 06, 2014 at 10:50 AM
Pet owners tend to think everyone loves their animals like they do. Dogs are a nuisance to most non dog owners. I will kill any dog that attacks me or my family.
Steve Newman January 06, 2014 at 03:31 PM
ChrisG- wow what happened to all that touchy feely stuff you are known for?. I agree with defending your family, but you won't be able to do that in jail. Bring a walking stick or cane with you- something you can legally posses in public. Pepper spray is good also.
G.G. January 07, 2014 at 11:47 AM
Steve, Your ideas sound great for preventing an attack, but I think that ChrisG was referring to instances where a dog had actually attacked himself or a family member and inflicted injuries. If a dog has repeatedly attacked humans (and most especially if they've attacked children) and the owner is not a responsible pet owner, then something more drastic needs to be done to protect people who may come in contact with the dog. That's sad, but true.
Steve Newman January 07, 2014 at 04:11 PM
Julie- ChrisG said" I will kill any dog that attacks me or my family." That does not sound like past tense- but what he would do if attacked.
G.G. January 07, 2014 at 04:38 PM
Steve, I think we're all actually saying the same thing. Your suggestions were to help prevent any attacks. If those don't work, and "any dog attacks me or my family" (as ChrisG stated), it's too late for your approach and other measures should be taken.
Steve Newman January 07, 2014 at 05:27 PM
Julie- ok - agreed. But unless ChrisG can legally carry a firearm- it is just empty threats. Depending on the dog- pepper spray will just tick them off, and I would not want to get close enough to use a knife- besides they are messy. So it is up to the dog owner to corral the beast- or if you are at Lowes, grab a shovel.

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