LA MESA, Calif. – A family was walking in La Mesa when two dogs escaped their kennels and attacked them Thursday morning, police said.
The mother was walking on a sidewalk on Waite Drive with her 2-year-old son in a stroller and 8-year-old daughter at 8:15 a.m. when two Rottweilers escaped from their backyard kennels, jumped a fence and ran toward the family, La Mesa police Lt. Brian Stoney said. The dogs went right for the boy and started biting him.
The boy’s mother attempted to pull the stroller and her child away from the attacking dogs, but one of the dogs jumped on her and knocked her to the ground, police said. The dog began biting her while the other dog continued to attack her child.
Several neighbors saw what was happening and came to the rescue, Stoney said.
“I went outside on the balcony and I saw two big dogs ripping this lady and her son bad," neighbor Jamir Grigsby said. "I just started hitting the dogs, started attacking them and yelling super loud.
"Then, I just grabbed them as hard as I could and I walked them over there,” he said.
Nathan Le, the dogs’ owner, also came outside and returned them to the backyard until authorities arrived.
“I’m very sorry about the family. The lady and her child that this happened to them. If there’s anything I can do for them I won’t hesitate to help, but this has happened and it’s going to be life-changing to our family, too,” Le said.
Le said the dogs chewed a hole through a fence, before jumping over another one. The dogs have been with their family for two years and were raised with his three young children.
“They’ve never attacked anybody. I feel regretful that I [wasn’t] home, and very sad that this happened," he said. "I feel like we’re not going to get them back anymore because they’re just that type of breed where people are not going to be forgiving of them."
The mother and child suffered serious injuries and were taken to a hospital, Stoney said. The 2-year-old child has bite marks to his head, face and arm. He’ll undergo surgery for his arm injury.
The 8-year-old girl was not injured, he said.
A friend of the victims told FOX 5 she usually walks with the family, but didn't feel up to it Thursday. She's 7-months pregnant and had mixed feelings about not being there.
"I felt that something could have happened to me also, but I would have surely helped her out in any way,” the victim's friend said.
City animal-control officers were called in to impound the dogs, named Stella and Cookie, which were taken to an El Cajon shelter for quarantine pending completion of tests for rabies and other diseases.
It was not immediately clear if the canines would be euthanized or possibly made available to be returned to their owners or adopted out to someone else.
Police publicly thanked the people who can to the rescue of the family. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family who was attacked.