California

7-year-old girl needs 1,000 stitches after dog bites her face at California kennel

A 7-year-old girl at a private Romoland, California, rescue kennel to adopt a dog required 1,000 stitches after an Akita bit her on the face, animal control officials say.
A 7-year-old girl at a private Romoland, California, rescue kennel to adopt a dog required 1,000 stitches after an Akita bit her on the face, animal control officials say. Screengrab from KABC video

A 7-year-old girl visiting a Southern California shelter with her family to adopt a dog required 1,000 stitches after one of the dogs bit her on the face, KABC reported.

The attack took place May 26 at A Passion for Paws Akita Rescue kennel in Romoland, California, the Desert Sun reported.

Riverside County animal control officers said a dog, identified as a 2-year-old male Akita at the privately owned kennel, lunged at the girl and bit her on the face, The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.

The incident took place about noon as the family visited the dog to consider adopting him, the Desert Sun reported. He had been rescued from a Los Angeles-area shelter in February.

The girl underwent three hours of surgery after the attack, KABC reported.

“Her injuries were quite shocking because her injuries were to the face,” said John Welsh, spokesman for the county Department of Animal Services, the Desert Sun reported. “It’s terrible when these attacks affect children.”

Animal control officers say it’s the fifth serious bite in recent years at the private kennel, KABC reported.

The kennel owner declined to have the dog, which was placed in quarantine, euthanized, The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported. The owner said the dog had never been aggressive in the past.

More than 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Here are some recommendations for protecting yourself if you're attacked by a dog and what to do after the attack has ended.

At a hearing Thursday on whether to destroy the dog, a witness for the kennel said the girl had put her face close to the dog despite a warning to her parents against such actions, the Desert Sun reported.

A decision on the animal’s fate may be issued Monday, The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.

Romoland is about 65 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

The A Passion for Paws Akita Rescue web page says the nonprofit no-kill shelter has rescued more than 1,000 Akitas and other dogs since opening in 2006.

The CDC reports that dogs bite 4.5 million people annually. And one particular group of people faces the threat of dog attacks on a daily basis; letter carriers. Each year, more than 6,000 letter carriers will be victims of dog attacks.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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