NATIONAL CITY — A 4-year-old girl was mauled by a pitbull that she tried to pat while the owner was watching Tuesday morning, National City police said.
The child was hospitalized with a torn lip and gashes on her cheek and chin from the dog bites, police Lt. Keith Fifield said.
The incident occurred near the center of a large apartment complex on Laurel Avenue near Fourth Street.
Fifield said Brittany Gardiner, 22, had taken her 60- to 70-pound pitbull outside on a leash to a grassy area to go to the bathroom. The child, a neighbor, asked to pat the dog and Gardiner said it was OK, Fifield said. He said when the child walked up to the dog, it lunged and bit her face.
Several residents called 911 at 10:22 a.m. to report the dog attack.
An officer got there one minute later and residents had pried the pitbull jaws off the child’s face, Fifield said. Gardiner had the dog in her car and was trying to leave, but officers stopped her, he said.
Paramedics took the child to Rady Children’s Hospital. Fifield had no update on her condition.
Gardiner was jailed on suspicion of felony child endangerment, obstructing an officer and owning an animal that caused serious injury. Jail records show her bail was set at $100,000.
The dog was taken to an animal shelter and was being held in quarantine, Fifield said.