A police dog could have killed the 4-year-old son of his handler in a back yard attack, but a neighbor broke down a 6-foot fence and forced the dog’s jaws apart.
Although the child survived, he had such severe injuries that his left leg had to be amputated.
The neighbor, Jeff Houlemarde, broke down the fence and ran to the rescue when he heard the boy’s screams.
"I run up to the dog and kick him, and I kicked him in the back hind quarters and he still didn't release the boy," Houlemarde said. "So I jumped on top of the dog and had to pry his mouth open.” (Source: NBCLA.com)
Another neighbor pulled the boy away from the dog.
The dog, Jango, has been with his K-9 handler, veteran Rialto police officer Mike Mastaler, for two years.
Just before the attack, Mastaler let the dog out and went upstairs to change clothes, he said. His son apparently went out the back door, looking for his mother.
By the time Mastaler heard what was happening and ran outside, the neighbors had just pulled his son away, and he put Jango in his kennel.
Jango has since been quarantined, and police Capt. Randy DeAnda said the department has to decide whether to put the dog down.
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