MARTINEZ, Calif. - A pitbull that was placed on a potentially dangerous animal list last fall after attacking two different adults, bit an 8-year-old girl outside her home in Martinez and has now been quarantined at the pound.
The dog, named Spot, belongs to a neighbor of Heather Silva and her family, including her daughter Layla, who was bitten on the back and arm while playing on a swing outside her Saxon Street home Monday afternoon.
Silva said she heard her daughter screaming outside, and ran to see what was happening. When she opened the door, her dogs ran out, and Silva saw Spot biting her daughter.
"I just freaked out. I wasn't afraid of the dog, my instinct was I don't even care at this point. I just want to get my dogs and my kid inside the house," she said. "I thought it bit her arm and so we were taking care of it and she said my back hurts and we lifted up her shirt. We didn't even know her whole back was attacked."
The attack was at least the third since last summer. Another neighbor was bit and tackled in her driveway last October. And records show Spot also attacked a homeless man in August. After the last attack, the owner was ordered to leash and muzzle the dog anytime the dog was outside.
But it appears that didn't happen.
"That little girl was on her swing and that dog attacked her," neighbor Jean O'Neil said. "That dog is holding us all hostage."
Layla's mother said the unprovoked attack could have been worse if her daughter hadn't crouched down and tucked her head as the dog bit and scratched at her.
"I wanted to kill the dog. I was so angry," Silva said.
She's not alone. Neighbors are now calling for the dog to be euthanized.
"It's a travesty. It should have never happened," one neighbor Jason said. "I want the dog to be gone, off our street."
Three other families on Saxon Street told KTVU Tuesday they want to see the dog put down for the safety of the neighborhood at the 16 kids who play there.
Under Contra Costa County's dangerous animal ordinance, Spot was designated as a "potentially dangerous animal" and allowed to return home after the October attack with restrictions.
The owner's home is now marked with a sign warning that a dangerous dog is on the premises and anytime the dog is walked, it must be muzzled.
While some neighbors blame animal control for not euthanizing or removing the dog after the last attack, Capt. Jane DeMay Andreotti with Contra Costa County Animal Services said the agency did not fail in any way.
"There are permit conditions in managing that animal," she said. "At any time when an owner has shows that they have not followed the permit conditions, we have options around not renewing that permit."
Andreotti said the owner is to blame for a dog not being managed properly or if it becomes loose or attacks and bites.
For now, Spot has been impounded while the owner decides if he wants to surrender him. Requests for comment from the owner went unreturned Tuesday.
Layla stayed home from school and received handmade cards from neighborhood kids wishing her to get well soon.
"She could have been killed," O'Neil said. "Is it going to take a child being killed in this neighborhood before animal control will take it and do the right thing?"