Grandfather raises questions about dog that mauled 8-year-old girl: Johanna Newland hospitalized

Owner says dog has never bitten anyone

EL CAJON, Calif. - The family of an 8-year-old girl who was mauled by a neighbor's dog wants to know why authorities waited more than 24 hours to take the dog into custody and whether it has rabies or any other health issues.

El Cajon Animal Control officers waited more than 24 hours to take the dog into custody

Johanna Newland is a third-grader who is missing school while she's recovering from a punctured windpipe at Rady Children's Hospital. Johanna's grandfather told 10News she needs a ventilator to breathe, but is expected to make a full recovery.

"If it happened to my granddaughter, it can happen to another child," said Joe Serna, who claims El Cajon Animal Control officers told Johanna's mother that since the child had only been "scratched" there was no reason to quarantine the dog away from the owner's home on Peach Avenue.

Serna said the dog, a year old husky named Mapacha, should have been secured.

"Lock the gates. Put him in a cage," he said, noting that the day after the attack a new cage appeared in Mapacha's yard.

The dog's owner, Maria Castaneda, told 10News the dog was tied to a leash at the back of their yard. It was only when Johanna came too close that she was within the dog's reach.

"I'm pretty sure the dog was trying to play," she explained, noting that her three daughters play with Mapacha all the time.

Castaneda said her dog has never bitten anyone.

"I'm really concerned about the girl and I wish the girl gets better," said Castaneda, as she hugged her 3-year old daughter.

Castaneda said if Animal Control determines her dog is vicious, she will do whatever they tell her, including -- if necessary -- euthanizing her family pet. She hopes it doesn't come to that because her children miss the family pet.

Sgt. Steve Kirk of El Cajon Animal Control said Mapacha will be quarantined for 10 days, and that he will follow the city's vicious animal guidelines to determine what, if anything, will be done after the quarantine period.

"We will take whatever steps we need to protect the community," said Kirk.

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