San Francisco family furious after 4-year-old son attacked by dog, owners walk away

Luz Pena Image
Wednesday, June 5, 2024
Family of SF boy attacked by dog furious after owners walk away
An unleashed dog bit a 3-year-old in San Francisco, sending the boy to the hospital. Now, the parents are pleading for the dog owners to come forward.

SAN FRANCISCO -- In San Francisco, an unleashed dog attacked and bit a young boy sending him to the hospital. Now, his parents are pleading for police to investigate and for the dog owners to come forward.

Surveillance video shows the seconds leading up to a 4-year-old getting attacked by a dog while walking home with his nanny in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood.

"All of a sudden (the dog) appeared out of nowhere (and) charged towards him, chased him and pinned him down and bit him really viciously on his left arm," said the boy's mom.

The nanny called the mom frantically as the boy screamed and bled on the sidewalk. The dog owners can be seen in the video blocking their unleashed dog from continuing to attack the boy as they tried to get the dog under control.

The nanny says the couple went back to their table to finish their meal. She said they didn't apologize and didn't leave their contact info.

"I couldn't believe this happened to my son. I was shocked and I was heartbroken and I wished it happened to me instead of him. The job of a mom of a parent is to protect your kid and in this situation there is nothing I could've had done to protect him," said the boy's mom.

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It's been almost two weeks since the attack. The family wants to keep their identity private but decided to speak out hoping to find the couple in the video.

Luz Pena: "What is your message to the dog owners?"

"This can never happen again to my son or any other kids or anyone else or other dogs. This just cannot happen again like it's not acceptable. These people need to be held accountable," said the boy's mom.

A day after the attack, the mom went back to the area searching for answers. She found surveillance video she turned in to police after filing

"When I filed the police report, we didn't have any information on the owners and I think they made it clear to not have high expectations with the investigation," said the boy's mom.

SFPD said the attack is being investigated by the Vicious Dangerous Dog Unit.

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"Dogs that are that confident to chase, run up to, and bite without any provocation whatsoever are dogs that have an aggressive propensity and have demonstrated them in the past, usually," said Ron Berman, a dog and cat bite expert.

The executive director of the San Francisco Animal Care and Control described the couple's actions as illegal.

"Appalling. The whole thing could've been prevented if the dog was on a leash. We have a leash law in this city. The dog should have been on a leash. Second, the owners of the dog are legally obligated to give the victim or in this case the nanny contact information. Name, phone number address. That is the law you have to give that information out," said Virginia Donohue, executive director of the San Francisco Animal Care and Control.

If the owners are found, the city will decide the dog's fate during a court hearing.

"They will make a decision about whether the dog should be deemed vicious and dangerous. That can come with the special restriction. That can come with special licensing and different measures put into place to make sure or to try to make sure that the dog doesn't re-offend," said Donohue, "If you are vicious and dangerous, then there is a special registration. You have to put signage up on your home and then the hearing officer can determine other restrictions. For example, the like must always be leashed, or you must be muzzled."

In the meantime, the boy's mom is hoping her efforts will protect others as she tries to explain what happened to her son.

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"He asked me, 'Why did a big white dog hurt me?' It absolutely broke my heart because he didn't do anything wrong. He didn't understand. He is just an innocent little boy and he is very kind. I said, 'Dogs are really nice animals but sometimes there are bad people and there are bad dogs. It has nothing to do with you. You did everything right. You are a good boy,"' said the mom.

SFPD Statement:

On 05/23/2024 at approximately 4:00 p.m., a reporting party responded to Northern Station to file a report regarding a dog bite incident.

The reporting party advised that on 05/22/2024 at approximately 5:05 p.m. near the 2700 block of Lombard Street, their adolescent child was attacked by a dog while walking with a caregiver. The child was later transported to a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

The reporting party advised that the other involved parties did not provide any identification or contact information at the time of the incident.

This is being actively investigated by the Vicious Dangerous Dog Unit. Anyone with information is asked to contact the SFPD at 415-575-4444 or text at tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD. You may remain anonymous.

The SFPD does have a dedicated unit assigned to investigate incidents involving dogs that exhibit menacing and or aggressive behavior. More information on SFPD's Vicious and Dangerous Dog Unit (VDDU) can be found here