A local dog that attacked and severely injured a 5-year-old boy on the Fourth of July was recently released to its owner, on condition that the animal be caged at all times and undergo neutering surgery, according to police.
The dog and its owner must comply with other restrictions after a San Benito County Superior Court judge declared the pet a dangerous dog and ruled to spare the animal’s life, according to police.
Hollister Police sent out a Sept. 27 press release about the release of the dog to its owner as a public advisory “to residents and neighbors to be aware of this potentially dangerous situation,” reads the release. The dog and his owner reside at a home on the 1500 block of Highland Drive.
On July 4, the Hollister Police Department and its Animal Care and Services officers were notified of a dog attack in which a 5-year-old boy was severely injured after the dog bit him, police said. The dog, a brown and white pit bull, was immediately taken into custody and held at the Hollister Animal Shelter while officers investigated.
The child victim was transported to a local hospital for emergency treatment. The boy received 12 to 16 stitches in his leg due to the dog bite, according to police. The boy later suffered an infection and permanent scarring from the bite.
Police later learned that the same dog had chased another child just a few minutes before the animal attacked the 5-year-old boy, authorities said.
On July 23, police and city staff conducted an administrative hearing to determine the dog’s fate. A hearing officer determined the dog was a danger to public safety, and ordered the animal’s humane euthanization.
The owners of the dog contested this ruling, and appealed the outcome to San Benito County Superior Court, police said.
A hearing was held Sept. 13 at the courthouse. At the conclusion of that hearing, the dog was determined to be a dangerous dog as defined by the Hollister municipal code. “The court determined that the dog had, unprovoked, attacked twice within several minutes and inflicted severe injury on the 5-year-old boy,” reads the police department’s press release.
However, the court ruled that the dog could be released back to its owners once the owner met a list of restrictions. These restrictions are: The dog must be confined to a secure structure or pen; the animal must be be neutered; the owners must obtain liability insurance; and the owners must always muzzle the dog while it is on leash, according to police.
The dog was released from city custody on Sept. 26, and returned to his owner, police said.
Police released a photo of the dangerous dog. Residents can call Hollister Police Animal Care and Services at (831) 636-4320 if the dog is seen outside without a leash or unconfined.