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Five dogs attack family walking in Fontana

A pack of five escaped dogs attacked a mother and her four young children in Fontana, mauling three of the siblings and leaving the youngest in critical condition.

The mother had been walking with four of her six children along a path near Arrow Boulevard and Citrus Avenue shortly before 5 p.m. Monday, when the pack comprised of a mastiff, a pit bull terrier and three other large dogs escaped from a back yard by digging a hole under the fence, said Sgt. Jeff Decker of the Fontana Police Department.

One of the dogs pulled the youngest, a 5-year-old girl, out of her mother’s grasp and shook her violently. The child, listed in critical condition at a hospital, suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung, serious bites and possible internal injuries. She also needed a ventilator to breathe.

“The mother believed one of her children was so badly mauled that she might be dead,” Decker said.

The girl's older brother, who is 6 or 7 year old, was hospitalized for serious bite wounds on his leg. Another girl, whose age was unknown, was also treated for injuries to her arms and legs.  The eldest, an 8-year-old boy, was the only child unharmed.

Some teenagers tried to get the dogs off the family by throwing rocks, Decker said. Police contacted the owners, who expressed concern at what had happened and said the dogs had not been trained for any type of sport or activity, Decker said.

Police chased down the dogs and shot the pit bull terrier. The others were impounded at the San Bernardino County Animal Shelter.

-- Amina Khan

Comments () | Archives (33)

This is the second attack by pit bulls in the last month. A 3 year old was killed in Victorville by a family pit. When will people accept the fact that pits were bred to kill, they don't need to be trained, they don't need to be abused, it is truly in their genes, just like herding is bred into dogs or hunting is bred into dogs. The pit community as a whole are in denial about how dangerous these dogs really are. They constantly make flimsy excuses such as there is a worldwide media conspiracy to "get the pits". And the best one is irresponsible owners. Anyone who takes a pit bull home to their children is irresponsible. And the best excuse yet is that labs bite more. They may bite more but they aren't killing in the numbers that the pits are. There is a big difference between bite records and fatality records. Pits are killing at a record rate of one every 22 days according to the only two sources that track fatalities by breed. www.DogsBite.org and www.pitattacksbystate.blogspot.com

The owners should be held responsible for this. In full.

can we please outlaw pit-bulls and mastiffs in the city? Apologies to all of the responsible large dog owners, but it seems there are far more people who have no idea how to handle dogs like this. Why would anyone have a pit bull, a mastiff and two other large dogs anyway?

The owners expressed concern? what a bunch of Cr*p. How about and arrest of the owners?

These large dog breeds are the equivalent to a young child carrying around a loaded gun. You never know when they're going to go off, and odds are someone will be killed or horribly injured.

The owners are totally responsible for their dogs' actions, and therefore this crime. They should be charged and arrested immediately. Large dogs aren't playthings- they are unpredictable and potentially dangerous animals, and it's because of irresponsible owners that innocent people are constantly attacked and killed by their "pets."

I believe the dog owners should be imprisoned for 6 years each. That will be a lesson to society to outlaw these vicious dogs and make people realize that owning such a vicious animal has severe consequences if anyone gets hurt.

Have you ever seen someone walking their dog without a leash? The law applies to everyone except them. Or at least that is what they think. And they tell you to mind your own business. Guess what buddy? It is my business!

I hope the owners are sued so badly they cannot afford to own a dog. Totally irresponsible!

So all the owners had to do was "express concern" and they got out of it? They should be held liable.

It's not the dog breed it is the owner who is at fault. Did you know that #1 dog bites are not pit bulls and are cocker spaniels. I do think anyone who owns a pitbull or large dog should have some extra license or registration on handling and training. It is a tragedy when children and people get hurt from animals but the animals are not as much to blame as the owners are.

can we donate to the family? Are they in need?

$1million insurance should be required of certain breeds of dogs! State of Calif. is really dumb about this.

I feel so sad for the mother and her children... I walk my son to and from school everyday and fear something like this might happen... A lot of blame must be placed on the owner of the dogs... How could you own 5 large dogs that are not trained... that is so irresponsible... Now these young children are fighting for their lives and may be seriously traumatized due to this incidenbt because as the owner said "the dogs had not been trained for any type of sport or activity?!?!" This is ridiculous the owner should be arrested for neglect.

it is not the pit bulls it is their owners. if you were to read any truthful information and not be fooled by the media you would know that pit bulls are known as the "nanny dog." they are very tolerant of children but are high energy dogs. i bet that these people left their dogs out all day with no human interaction and no care in the world. majority of these violent dog attacks are pit bull mixes not pit bulls. there is a BIG difference. mixes generally pick up the bad traits of a breed and EVERYBODY thinks of them to be pit bills. go ahead will and continue blaming pit bulls which you obviously have not knowledge of and forget that it is an act of irresponsible dog owners. i have had pit bulls my entire life and never had any problems with aggression. oh and sorry to rain on you parade, but santa clause isn't real either...

Clearly the owners of these wild dogs should be arrested.

What is the deal with law enforcement in Fontana anyway ... is this kind of outrageous attack viewed as ok by public officials??

Why does this happen all the time?

Dog owners should bear greater responsibilities for owning dogs, especially very aggressive ones.

I hope the girl recovers and I hope the family sues the dogs' owners in order to recoup the medical bills they will end up having to pay. Some people just won't learn their lesson unless you hit them where it hurts... in the wallet.

Pit Bulls and mastiffs arent born violent, they are MADE violent!!! Dogs should ALL be killed. Owners arrested for the Murder of the Dogs and Assault with a deadly weapon on the Victims. DONE!!!!

Lemme guess? The owners of those dogs are EXTREMELY irresponsible and have LITTLE to NO sense of accountability! The only thing lower than those two is their financial status!

There is a certain breed of "human" that keeps THAT many types of those dogs
and in particular, a pit-bull terrier!

How HORRIFIC that experience must've been for that poor mother and those poor babies!

The penalties for such irresponsible behaviour should be raised. My thinking is that SOMEONE needs to do time in jail or even prison, if this is not the first time it has occurred!

How many dogs can a household have in fontana, 5 sounds like above the legal limit.

5 dogs roving in a pack, an unprovoked attacked. I am suspicious

This is sad. Owners need to be held fully accountable - with both criminal and civil penalties. It seems our society has gone too far with pets. Just because you like dogs doesn't mean everyone does. Keep your pets in your house.

Banning dogs by breed does not guarantee that dog attacks will go down. If you were to ban all pit bulls or mastiffs, how does that keep other dogs from attacking people? Any dog could do it, not just pit bulls and mastiffs. Other cities have banned dogs by breed and they've found that it doesn't change the number of attacks. I have a pit bull mix and she's never hurt anyone. She even seems to recognize when children are walking by and never barks at them. How is it fair to condemn her for other people's actions?

Yes the owners should be held accountable. But it's ridiculous for anyone to suggest that this story is grounds for outlawing any breed of dog.

Why would anyone want to have a Pit Bull? Perhaps because they're great dogs, although much maligned by those who know little about them. I once numbered myself among that group, but I took the time to get to know a bunch of Pit Bulls and now, all other things being equal, I like them better than many other breeds. They're people-oriented, they're affectionate, they're easy to train, they're loyal, and they're much less easily distracted than many retrieving and hunting breeds. They also have beautiful smiles and great attitudes.

The very notion of outlawing a breed is flat-out un-American. We don't condemn based on appearance, we judge on deeds alone, or we're not worth anything. Before you condemn an entire breed you should at least take the time to educate yourself -- which does not include merely credulously inhaling sensationalistic headlines designed to generate mouse clicks on a news site. Did you ever stop to consider how much more website traffic is generated by the headline "Pit Bull Attacks Man" than "Schnauzer Bites a Guy"? That's a strong incentive for reporters to jump to the conclusion that any dog who attacks anyone is a Pit Bull. Additionally, many people misidentify dog breeds even under the best of circumstances, which being bitten or seeing a dog biting is not.

Did you know that at least two of Michael Vick's former Pit Bulls are now therapy dogs? They comfort the sick, which is a lot more than most people do. So maybe it's time for people who consider themselves intelligent not to leap to foolish judgments or advocate ridiculously un-American measures like breed-specific legislation, even with the meaningless disclaimer "Apologies to all of the responsible large dog owners..." How do you apologize for advocating that people have their beloved companions ripped from their homes and killed, not for anything they've done, but just for what they look like?

It's reprehensible to even suggest such a thing.

I agree 100% with Jon. If the quote by the owners is accurate, they should be "expressing their concern" behind bars. I am a dog owner and a dog lover - but I would never own one of these breeds, let a lone a whole herd (they are the size of small cattle). Once a bear, mountain lion or any other wild animal attacks a human, it is considered dangerous and is hunted down and killed. The remaining dogs could easily attack again if given a chance. They should all be put down and the owners should be brought up on charges. I think there are way too many lawsuits in this country - but I hope in this case that poor mom sues the pants off of those irresponsible owners. Let's hope all the kids make it.

I have a pitbull and a mastiff and let me say that they are the most loving dogs I have ever had. What happened to that poor family is devastating and the owners should take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for their dogs actions. Unfortunately the media only seems to report on dog attacks that deal with large breeds leading people to believe that those are the only breeds that attack people. Being a pitbull & mastiff owner, I am not indenial about what my dogs are capable of doing, but really any breed is capable of the same kind of attack. Dog owners as a whole need to be more responsible for their pets.

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