Pit Bull That Killed Boy Euthanized

Dog Bite Victim

The pit bull that bit a 6-year-old boy to death on Monday was euthanized in Fremont, a police spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

"Kava" had been taken to the Tri-City Animal Shelter in Fremont after the dog attacked Nephi Selu, who was apparently trying to climb on the family pet's back in the backyard of his relative's home in Union City. The dog belongs to a San Mateo police officer, NBC Bay Area was the first to report.

Kava bit the boy on the head about 11:30 a.m., police said. The recent kindergarten graduate was taken to Lucille Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto at 2 p.m. the same day, where he died.

The family said the dog had never been vicious before, but after the attack, Nephi's aunt, Iona Keanaaina, who is married to the San Mateo police officer, said the family wasn't interested in caring for the dog any more.

She said Nephi, who just graduated kindergarten in Union City, was an only child and lived with his extended family - including her seven children - at the same home.

Pit bull deaths always ignite a firestorm of controversy among the breed's supporters, who argue that pit bulls are not to blame - it's usually the owners who don't treat them well, and critics, who argue that the breed is inherently aggressive.

According to DogsBite.org, a national organization dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks, there were 38 fatal dog attacks last year. Pit bulls contributed to 23 of those deaths.

Anyone with information about this should call Union City police at 510-471-1365.

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