Pet Sitter Warned of Dog’s Aggressiveness Toward Small Children

Hearing the term “child endangerment” brings to mind various thoughts about just what type of incident may be involved. And while California law makes it a crime to endanger the health or life of a child through an adult’s recklessness or indifference, the image of dog walking is not one that readily comes to mind in this context.

A pet-sitter has been charged with child endangerment after a dog in her care bit a 4-year-old girl, according to Santa Monica Police. The attack happened on Oct. 19 when Kennedy Kisselman, her mother Auburn, and her mother’s friend dog walker Rebecca McGroerty returned from taking Roxanne for a walk. Roxanne was described by McGroerty as a pit bull; police referred to her as a Staffordshire Terrier.

The dog was in the care of McGroerty, who was employed by Fetch Pet Care. The owner told McGroerty that the dog was afraid of and aggressive toward small children. McGroerty was also instructed not to bring other people into the home, but allowed the girl and her mother in to use the restroom. The girl was bitten by the dog. Roxanne was not on a leash and was not wearing a muzzle at the time of the attack, according to police. The Santa Monica city attorney filed child endangerment charges.

McGroerty broke two fingers pulling the dog’s jaws off the child. The girl was treated with “countless” stitches, the mother said “I didn’t know it had that kind of capacity,” McGroerty said at the time. “No one should be around a dog like that except an expert.”

“Our first and foremost concern and deepest sympathy is with the child and her family.” A statement from Fetch Pet Care read. “To our best knowledge, our independently-owned and operated franchisee in Los Angeles adhered to proper protocol by educating its pet-sitting contractor of its strict policy regarding unapproved guests visiting a pet owner’s home.”

Dog Impounded and Quarantined

The dog was impounded by the Santa Monica Animal Control Unit for 10-day quarantine and then released to the owner, with muzzle and leash restrictions. The next hearing for McGroerty is Jan. 8, 2014.

California law is extremely strict when it comes to protecting children. Child endangerment is a serious charge that could carry severe penalties pursuant to a conviction. To combat such charges, you need an aggressive and understanding defense attorney on your side.

Daniel R. Perlman
The Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman