The owner of a dog that attacked a 3-year-old boy at a Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Murrieta, leaving the boy in need of dozens of stitches, has been arrested, police confirmed.
Robert Kahn, 62, was arrested Thursday in connection with the incident and charged with willful cause of bodily injury by an animal, the Murrieta Police Department said.
On Saturday morning, Kahn’s dog – an Akita – attacked a young boy at the Lowe’s garden center at 24701 Madison Ave. in Murrieta, north of San Diego County.
Murrieta police said Kahn, a regular at the store, let the boy pet the dog. During their encounter, the animal lashed out and bit the boy on the jaw, neck, forehead and below his right eye.
The boy was taken to a local hospital, where he received approximately 50 stitches before being transferred to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. On Friday, police confirmed the child had been treated for injuries to the face and neck and was released from the hospital on Sunday.
After the attack, Kahn grabbed his dog and left the store. Police released an image of Kahn caught on surveillance tape to the media and were able to confirm his identity the next day.
On Sunday, officers found Kahn at his home less than a mile from the Lowe’s store. He told police he had fled because he feared his dog would be taken away.
Officials from the Animal Friends of the Valley took the Akita into custody. As of Friday, police said the dog remains quarantined in the custody of animal control officials.
Through their investigation, detectives said they discovered two additional incidents in which Kahn’s dog allegedly showed aggression towards young children, ages three and five.
Detectives said those cases allegedly happened in Murrieta between October and November 2013. They weren’t reported to police or animal control and were less severe than the Lowe’s attack. Detectives said the victims in those cases did not require hospitalization.
The case is now being handled by the Riverside County District Attorney’s office.