CITY HALL — A professional dog walker has been charged with child endangerment after a 4-year-old girl was badly bitten by a dog under the woman’s care, city officials said.

Rebecca McGroerty was looking after a 10-year-old Staffordshire terrier and was given detailed instructions by the dog owner to always keep the pet muzzled and on a leash while it was outside of the home, located along the 2300 block of 32nd Street. The owner also told McGroerty that the dog was afraid and aggressive toward small children, city officials said.

She was not to have anyone other than employees or residents inside the home where the dog was. But on Oct. 19, the City Attorney’s Office alleges McGroerty let the 4-year-old girl, who was not a resident, into the home, at which point she was attacked. The dog was not muzzled and was off-leash at the time of the attack, city officials said.

The girl suffered injuries to her leg that required stitches. She was later released to her parents.

The dog was impounded by the Santa Monica Animal Control Unit for a 10-day quarantine and released to the owner by the Los Angeles County Public Health Veterinarian. Muzzle and leash restrictions were placed on the dog, however, they were already voluntarily being used by the owner prior to the incident, police said.

McGroerty, who could not be located for comment, was charged by city officials and is expected in court later this month.

The American Kennel Club classifies the Staffordshire terrier as “courageous and strong,” with an athletic build and intelligence. “He is often identified by his stocky body and strong, powerful head. … Although friendly, this breed is loyal to his family and will protect them from any threat.”

 

kevinh@smdp.com