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Pit Bull Attack Hospitalizes Boy, 6, and Baby-Sitter, 83

March 17, 1998|CLAIRE VITUCCI and MARTHA L. WILLMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

A pit bull that escaped from a fenced yard in Pacoima attacked three people Monday, including a 6-year-old boy and his 83-year-old baby-sitter, authorities said.

Erick Navarro and Guadalupe Molina were listed in fair condition in area hospitals late Monday, and were scheduled to undergo surgery for multiple puncture wounds.

The 80-pound pit bull named Butch reportedly was running loose in the 13400 block of Desmond Street about 4:15 p.m. when it attacked the boy, who was walking on the sidewalk with Molina, said city Fire Department spokesman Bob Collis.

Jeannette Figueroa, the dog's owner, said she was in the yard when the two walked past. She called for the dog but it ran up to the boy.

Figueroa said she warned the boy and the woman not to move, but Erick was scared and began to inch away.

"He attacked the boy for being too scared," Figueroa said. "I didn't mean for it to happen."

After biting the child on the face, neck and back of the head, the dog was briefly corralled by neighbors, Figueroa said. But it broke free and ran after Molina and Erick.

In a panic, Molina and a few neighbors put the boy on the roof of a car. The animal then bit Molina, standing next to the car.

"The old lady was holding the boy--she was crying," said neighbor Victor Panos, 16. "The boy was bleeding all over his face."

Panos grabbed the dog by its jowls and wrenched it off Molina. The dog broke free and bit Panos before running off.

The dog was captured and quarantined at a city animal shelter, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Animal Services said. An investigation was begun to determine whether criminal charges will be filed against the owners.

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