SAN DIEGO – A Mira Mesa family alleges they had to call 911 twice after their newborn was attacked and killed by a pit bull last week.
On the evening of April 21, the couple and their 3-day-old newborn Sebastian Caban were lying in bed at their home in the 3300 block of Flanders Drive. Also in the bed was their 2-year-old dog, a Great Dane-pit bull mix named Polo. At one point, the mother coughed, startling Polo, who then attacked their infant.
The family called 911 twice, but were not connected to operators. The first time they called they waited 28 seconds. The second time, they waited 34 seconds.
The family then made the 20-minute drive from their Mira Mesa home to UCSD Thornton Hospital in La Jolla, where Sebastian was pronounced dead. An autopsy determined the boy died from a bite injury to the head.
The San Diego County Department of Animal Services took custody of Polo, a neutered male. The canine will undergo a 10-day quarantine to make sure he is not rabid, after which he will be euthanized unless his owners decide to reclaim him, DAS spokesman Dan DeSousa said.
The dog had no known prior history of dangerous aggressiveness, DeSousa said.
Meanwhile, San Diego mayoral candidate Ed Harris blames the SDPD for the lack of a response.
“It is unacceptable for any amount of time to for there to be a delay to 911,“ Harris said.
SDPD Lt. Schott Wahl called Thursday’s events a tragedy.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family in this very tragic case,” Wahl said. “We know every second counts in an emergency.”
Harris says the department has been under staffed for several years.
“Why do we have vacant positions there, why are we not staffing fully, every day?
SDPD Sgt. Lisa McKean told 10News there are 19 positions open in the communication sector of the department.
“We are currently undertaking a variety of measures to fill our interim staffing needs.”
She explained they are working employees overtime, and training officers to step in and help.