UPDATE | 3:54 p.m. The owner of a female pit bull in Heritage Ranch said the boy had reached for one of the dog’s nine puppies when he was attacked.
Jim Milender said his wife was at home with the dogs and four young children — their daughter, their niece and nephew, and the little boy who lived next door. The houses are on the 4000 block of Meadow Lark Lane in the gated community near Nacimiento Lake.
The boy is 4 years old, according to Eric Anderson, animal services manager for San Luis Obispo County.
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Milender said the boy reached toward the puppy, and their 2-year-old pit bull, Misty, lashed out and bit him.
“I was away from home working when it happened, but my wife was there in the bathroom,” Milender said. “The boy reached for the puppy and then Misty just reacted from what I’ve been told.”
Milender said that the pit bull previously had never shown any signs of aggression, and he’d repeatedly told his daughter and young relatives not to touch the puppies, fearing a reaction from their mother.
Milender’s wife, who was outside their home today, rushed to see what had happened when she heard commotion.
“It happened really fast because Misty was separated from him when I came out,” she said.
Jim Milender said that he was on his way to Twin Cities Community Hospital where the boy was being treated this morning to reach out to the family friends.
Steve Meikle, the Heritage Ranch Fire Station captain, said the boy likely will need reconstructive surgery but was expected to survive. Meikle said the dog also bit the boy’s upper lip, but he remained conscious and able to talk afterward.
Original story: A dog believed to be a pit bull attacked a 4-year-old boy, biting him in the face, in an incident this morning at Heritage Ranch, authorities said.
The boy was taken to Twin Cities Community Hospital for surgery. The child’s upper lip and nose area sustained the most trauma in the 10:09 a.m. attack, said Capt. Steve Meikle of the CalFire station at Heritage Ranch, a community at Nacimiento Lake northwest of Paso Robles. The boy was also bitten on his back and neck.
Meikle explained that the dog belonged to a neighbor of where the boy lived in the 4000 block of Meadowlark Lane. The animal was a female who had young puppies, and she might have considered the child to be a danger to her pups, Meikle said.
The boy’s mother was at home when the attack happened, but Meikle did not know specifically where she was at the moment the boy was bitten.
The case is being referred to county animal control officers. In such incidents, they typically take possession of a dog that has bitten a person. It is not known if that has happened yet in this case.