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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.”

SD Spencer December 30, 2013 at 07:33 PM
I'm a dog owner/lover and I personally can't stand when people bring their non-service animals inside stores or worse yet, grocery stores. I hope the little boy recovers quickly.
Sunshine December 31, 2013 at 01:44 AM
So so so tired of seeing non service animals in stores, carts and areas where I shop and buy my food. Example: the old lady who brings her poodle into albertsons on Rancho calif. And it leans out of cart and licks produce ;/ lowes is lucky this wasn't my lil kid... May this lil kid get help ..being attacked by a animal at such a young age is so traumatizing. And to the owner you should have known better ...
Carole Masson December 31, 2013 at 09:19 AM
I was under the impression that with the new law that no dog was to be left in the car unattended, Lowe's had relaxed in order to accommodate more customers who just needed to pick up a few things. Now this person has ruined it for all. He surely would have had some inkling that his dog did not like small children and should have been more aware in a public place. Maybe the hospital bill and lawsuit that I am sure is coming will teach him a lesson....
Bob December 31, 2013 at 04:08 PM
All i can say is hes is a very lucky man that wasnt my kid

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