The pit bull's owners said they were babysitting the boy at their home in the afternoon. They said the boy had a piece of candy in his hands when the dog lunged for the candy and bit the boy in the face in the process. The child's injuries were non-life threatening.
One of the dog's owners, who did not want to be identified, said his pit bull has been in the family for more than two years and has never harmed anyone in the past.
Ventura County Animal Regulations officials said it appears to have been an accident, not a dog attack.
"A lot of times when dogs see food, they want to go for the food and he had the food by his mouth," said Pat Ryan of Ventura County Animal Regulations. "It did not maul the baby. It was just one quick lunge for the food, a quick bite and release."
Neighbor Georgia Herrera said she heard screams and dialed 911.
"I just really felt like something really bad was happening cause of the way we heard the yells and screams. It sounded like someone was being killed," Herrera said.
The dog's owners said the pit bull ran out the door and has not been seen since. Animal Regulation officials said they want to find the dog quickly because it has no vaccination records and is not licensed.
"The main reason we're out here is too quarantine the dog," said Ryan, who was out searching for the dog. "It's mandated by the state that any biting animal be quarantined for the 10 days because we're a rabies-controlled state."
The family said they have had the pit bull since it was a puppy.
"He's a good family dog," the owner said. "We can feed him by our hands. When he's eating we can put our hands in his plate and he doesn't bite us. That's the way we trained him."
Animal Regulations officials said the dog owners are facing citations for having a dog that is unlicensed and not vaccinated.