ANTIOCH -- A city staff report on an Aug. 11 pit bull attack that seriously injured a 10-year-old Martinez boy reveals that the dogs' owner's child was also injured in the attack and recommends that the dogs be euthanized.
An appeals board made up of Antioch residents will convene Thursday to hear from the owners of the pit bulls -- named Jewels and Duke -- and the family of Hunter Kilbourn, the boy who sustained serious injuries after he was bitten repeatedly by the dogs. The panel will also examine reports from police and animal control officers who responded to the dog attack.
The board will decide the fate of the animals the same day.
An investigation summary submitted by Monika Helgemo, a supervisor for Antioch Animal Services, details how Hunter was found lying upside down and bloodied on the staircase in the Reseda Way home of Rodrick and Courtney De La Cruz shortly after Hunter and the couple's youngest son came in to play video games. Helgemo also says the couple's son was bitten on the arm by Jewels as he tried to pull her off Hunter.
Though the De La Cruz boy only sustained minor bite injuries, Helgemo wrote that the redirection of the dog's attack weighed her recommendation to have both animals euthanized. She urged the board to accept the city's ruling that the dogs are "vicious animals," deny the appeal and humanely euthanize the dogs.
Hunter has recovered from a majority of his injuries he sustained in the attack, which included a partially severed ear, serious lacerations to his face and the back of his head and bite marks on his arms. His mother, Melody Ralls, said he does suffer anxiety attacks and nightmares.
"We are surviving and managing," she said. "I will be happy once the hearing is over."
According to the report, Rodrick and Courtney De La Cruz repeatedly told officials that only Jewels was involved in the attack and that Duke never bit either Hunter or their son. Hunter later told investigators both dogs bit him.
On previous occasions when Hunter visited the family, the animals had been kept outside because Hunter admitted he was afraid of dogs, the report says. The dog's owners confirmed to investigators that both animals were inside the house at the time of the attack, but it is unknown how the dogs got inside. Investigators also found that the animals' rabies vaccinations were not up to date and that they had never been licensed.
The hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Antioch City Council Chambers, at 200 H St.