Santa Monica Dog Walker Charged After Staffordshire Terrier Bites Four-Year-Old

Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013, 9:45:00 AM

Brenton Garen

A Santa Monica dog walker has been charged with child endangerment after a 10-year-old Staffordshire Terrier in her care bit a four-year-old girl on the leg.

SMPD Sgt. Jay Moroso said police officers responded to a call of a dog bite in the 2300 block of 32nd Street on Oct. 19.

Moroso said their investigation revealed that the dog was in the care of a pet care professional/dog walker by the name of Rebecca McGroerty. 

"McGroerty was given instructions by the owner of the dog to always keep the dog muzzled and on a leash while it was outside of the house," Moroso said. "The owner also told McGroerty that the dog was afraid of and aggressive toward small children. McGroerty’s employer gave her instructions that she was not to have anyone other than employees or residents entering the house where the dog was residing."

Moroso said the dog attack took place inside the owner's home, with the young girl present, who was not a resident.

"The dog was not muzzled and off-leash at the time of the attack," Moroso said. "The four-year-old was treated with stiches to her leg and released to her parents." 

The dog was impounded by the Santa Monica Animal Control Unit for a 10 day quarantine period and was released to the owner by the Los Angeles County Public Health Veterinarian, Moroso said.

Moroso said muzzle and leash restrictions were placed on the dog; however, they were already voluntarily being used by the dog owner prior to the incident.

McGroerty was charged by the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office with Penal Code section 273a (a), Child Endangerment. A court date of Nov. 26 at the LAX Court, Division 147 is set for her arraignment.

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