Pitbull Attacks 5 Year Old in San Bernardino


Luke Money

A 5-year-old was killed on February 10 by the family’s pitbull dog.

Sharon Sun, Photojournalist

A young boy had died from an attack by his family pitbull in San Bernardino, according to nbclosangeles.com. The incident occurred around 2:57 p.m. on February 10, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, on 15100 block of Portland Street in the Oro Grande, an unincorporated community just outside Victorville, California. The child has been identified as Sterling Vermeer, just five years old, according to ktla.com.


A cousin of the victim had called authorities, saying that the pitbull was grabbing on and attacking Sterling and would not release him, according to CBS Los Angeles. The cousin had said that she and another adult relative were babysitting Sterling for his parents, who were at work that day. The child had previously been accompanied by the adult relative in the same room, but was left alone with the dog when the adult stepped outside. 


When the relative returned into the room, he saw the dog attacking Sterling and called an emergency dispatcher. No one else was present with the child at the time of the attack, and the boy suffered traumatic injuries from the pitbull, according to latimes.com. In this case, traumatic injuries refer to injuries caused by various forces outside the body, causing blunt or penetrating damage.


Officers eventually managed to separate the dog from the boy, and Sterling’s parents were then notified of his death. According to San Bernardino Sgt. Jeff Allison, there was no known reason for the dog to attack the boy. He says that the department initiated “life-saving measures” in an effort to rescue Sterling but were unsuccessful. The family has been interviewed by the police department, but authorities do not suspect any criminal activity regarding the attack, according to mercurynews.com. The family says that they have owned the 12-year-old pitbull since it was a puppy and had fully trusted the dog to be around children, according to CBS Los Angeles.


The dog has been taken by San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control and has been placed into quarantine, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department states. The outlook for the pit bull is still unclear, authorities said. Joyce Lin (10), expresses the need for extreme caution with and around young children. “Parents and caretakers should always be especially careful with kids. They can get mixed up in a lot of adverse situations,” she says.


It’s not clear what prompted the attack, and the dog’s motive is still under investigation by San Bernardino County authorities.