A 4-year-old California boy was forced to undergo a leg amputation after his father’s police dog, Jango, attacked him on Sunday afternoon.
The boy had been playing video games while his father, Rialto police officer Michael Mastaler, was upstairs. The child went outside to look for his mother, who had gone shopping. That’s when Jango, who was outside but not in his kennel, attacked him.
A neighbor who heard the boy’s screams broke down the house’s fence and tried to get Jango to release the child.
“I run up to the dog and kick him, and I kicked him in the back hind quarters and he still didn’t release the boy,” Jeff Houlemarde said. “So I jumped on top of the dog and had to pry his mouth open.”
Another neighbor pulled the boy away from the dog. Rialto police say at that point, the boy’s father, veteran Rialto police officer Mike Mastaler, rushed outside and put Jango back in his kennel. The boy, who was taken to Loma Linda hospital after the attack at his family’s Hesperia home on Sunday, remains hospitalized.
The “highly trained” K-9 was quarantined Thursday. It’s not clear why Jango attacked, but Mastaler, who works undercover, could be disciplined for leaving the dog unsupervised.
Capt. Randy DeAnda, who called Mastaler one of the department’s finest officers, said the whole incident is a double tragedy. In addition to losing his son’s leg, Mastaler may also lose Jango.
“Ultimately there has to be a decision made as to whether or not the dog has to be put down,” DeAnda said.
Authorities told ABC 7 that it is possible Jango will be released from his duties as a police dog and euthanized.