MARTINEZ, Calif. - A pitbull responsible for at least three attacks, including a little girl, was surrendered by the dog’s owner and euthanized by Contra Costa County Animal Services on Thursday.
Neighbors called for the dog, Spot, a 15-month-old pitbull, to be put down after in attacked 8-year-old Layla Silva as she played on a swing in her front yard in Martinez on Monday. She suffered puncture wounds and bite marks on her arm and back.
"It’s heartbreaking," mother Heather Silva said. "I wanted to kill the dog. I was just so angry."
The dog was leashed at the time of the attack Silva said, but the owner’s friend was unable to control the pitbull.
But now there’s a sense of solace knowing the dog will not be returning home.
"I think the biggest threat is gone," neighbor Stephanie Moon said. "It was preventable. Everything up until this point has been very reactive."
Moon was also involved in an unprovoked attack by Spot in the driveway of her Saxon Street home.
Following Moon’s encounter, Spot was designated as a potentially dangerous dog, under Contra Costa County’s dangerous animal ordinance. It required the owner to undergo a home inspection, post warning signs, and muzzle the dog anytime it was outside of the house.
Several neighbors told KTVU they were upset animal control had not taken swifter action. But officials said they can’t just take a dog because pets are considered personal property.
"It doesn’t just happen overnight," Capt. Jane DeMay Andreotti in charge of field services said. "We have to go through the steps, allow the owner due process and then make decisions based on our internal protocols and state law."
In this case, the investigation revealed the owner failed to follow the law and conditions of the potentially dangerous dog permit. Spot was not muzzled at the time he bit Layla and the owner’s friend failed to maintain control of Spot.
It was because of those violations and the fact the dog had a history of biting that the county made the decision to euthanize the dog.
"Not every animal is a safe animal to be put back out into a home. In this circumstance, unfortunately, for this dog that rang true," Andreotti said.
While the owner did not respond to KTVU for comment, some neighbors made cards and wrote messages of gratitude and empathy to the owner in hopes peace will return to the neighborhood.
"Thank you for putting our safety first," 11-year-old Abrianna Bittner said as she read her card. "We appreciate it very much. I realize it was something very hard for you to do."
"He’s doing the right thing," mother Andrea Bittner said. "Our kids should feel safe in their own homes. It’s a huge relief."