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Dog spared after Murrieta biting incident

An Akita that attacked a 3-year-old boy inside of a Murrieta Lowe's will not be euthanized. The dog, also 3 years old, was determined to be under "irresponsible" ownership, rather than being a danger to the community. The dog's owner, a 62-year-old Murrieta man was arrested for suspected criminal negligence and was released on a bail of $5,000. The Akita had also been involved in two prior incidents involving a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old.

The dog attack occurred on Dec. 28 when the young boy attempted to pet the Akita in the hardware store. Despite having the dog on a leash, the animal bit the boy near his chin and right eye. The boy had to receive 50 stitches, and there was originally concern that his eye may be significantly damaged. As he recovered in a San Diego County children's hospital, however, it was eventually determined that the boy's eye will make a full recovery.

The dog's owner fled the scene after the attack, leading authorities to conduct a brief search. The man was eventually identified using surveillance footage. Lowe's has a corporate policy that is supposed to prevent non-service dogs from being inside the stores.

While the dog will not be euthanized at this time, its future is still unclear. A spokesperson from an organization known as Animal Friends of the Valleys stated that Akitas are typically very protective and loyal, and they might not be suited for public places such as retail stores. She claimed that the dog in this case is not good around children or strangers but it still may have a chance of being adopted. The dog must first be assessed to see if it's placeable. If it is determined that the Akita can be adopted, a potential owner would have to be made aware of the dog's history and must agree to muzzle the animal in public. It could be argued that this dog is too dangerous to be put back into society; however, the animal experts in this case seem to agree with the common belief that many dangerous dogs are simply victims of bad owners.

Source:  The Press-Enterprise, "MURRIETA: Akita in Lowe's biting incident spared; boy healing," Aaron Claverie, Jan. 9, 2014

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