A 7-year-old California girl required more than 1,000 stitches after she was reportedly attacked by an Akita.
According to NBC Los Angeles, the Akita that bit the girl’s face could be euthanized.
The girl, who was not named, was with her family and was hoping to get a new dog, the report said.
Following the attack, the girl underwent three hours of surgery and is recovering, the station said.
The Desert Sun newspaper reported that the child was at the Passion for Paws Rescue Inc. kennel last week when the dog attack occurred.
“Her injuries were quite shocking because her injuries were to the face,” said John Welsh, spokesman for the county Department of Animal Services, the paper reported. “It’s terrible when these attacks affect children.”
Welsh said that the Akita is “a big dog” and a “bully breed dog.”
He noted that there have been several incidents involving the Passion for Paws Rescue Inc. kennel, but the department hasn’t “taken any action.”
“We may not even have legal precedent to reject the license,” the Desert Sun quoted him as saying.
The group said that “since the beginning of A Passion for Paws, we have saved the lives of almost 1,000 Akitas and other dogs,” the paper reported. However, there were two incidents involving dog bites at the kennel last year, and several others since 2013.
An “investigation includes looking into a handful of other serious bites (that) involved dogs from the kennel,” animal services said of the kennel.
The kennel also posted a photo of the Akita involved in the recent attack on Facebook several days before the incident. The group highlighted that the dog, named Tux, is good with children.
“Tux wants to know if you have a kid he can play with? Or, are you a big kid? Meet him at #AkitaRanch 28930 Ellis Ave, Romoland, CA email firstname.lastname@example.org,” the post stated.
Animal Services Officer Carra Mathewson told the Desert Sun that the rescue group would not surrender the dog for euthanasia. But due to the severity of the attack on the child, “Mathewson and her supervisor, Sgt. Lesley Huennekens, sought a destruction order at a public hearing on Thursday,” the agency told the paper.
“It is crucial that we protect the public from dogs that may not be suitable for adoptions,” Animal Services Director Allan Drusys told NBC Los Angeles. “We respect all of our rescue partners very much. These groups are helping us save lives. But it’s critical that everyone recognize that some breeds may not be a good pet, especially for households with children.”
According to the American Kennel Club, male Akitas can weigh between 100 and 130 pounds while females can weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.
Originating in Japan, the dogs are “powerful hunter[s] with a strong work ethic and stout heart who worked in packs on such big game as wild boar, deer, and the fearsome Yezo bear.”
“In more recent times, just plain folks the world over have employed their Akitas as world-class family guardians,” the website says. “Akitas have for centuries been the object of myth and legend and occupy a special place in Japanese culture. When a child is born, the parents will usually receive an Akita figurine signifying happiness and long life, in keeping with an old Japanese tradition. A famously loyal Akita of the 1920s named Hachiko is among Japan’s most cherished symbols.”