Santa Monica dog walker Rebecca McGroerty pleaded not guilty to child endangerment on Tuesday at the LAX branch courthouse stemming from an alleged incident in October this year where a 10-year-old Staffordshire Terrier in her care bit a four-year-old girl on the leg.
McGroerty’s next court date is set for Jan. 8, 2014.
SMPD Sgt. Jay Moroso said officers responded to a call of a dog bite in the 2300 block of 32nd Street on Oct. 19.
Moroso said their investigation revealed that the dog was in the care of McGroerty – a pet care professional/dog walker.
“McGroerty was given instructions by the owner of the dog to always keep the dog muzzled and on a leash while it was outside of the house,” Moroso said. “The owner also told McGroerty that the dog was afraid of and aggressive toward small children. McGroerty’s employer gave her instructions that she was not to have anyone other than employees or residents entering the house where the dog was residing.”
Moroso said the dog attack took place inside the owner’s home, with the young girl Kennedy Kisselman present, who was not a resident.
“The dog was not muzzled and off-leash at the time of the attack,” Moroso said. “The four-year-old was treated with stitches to her leg and released to her parents.”
The dog was impounded by the Santa Monica Animal Control Unit for a 10 day quarantine period and was released to the owner by the Los Angeles County Public Health Veterinarian, Moroso said.
Moroso said muzzle and leash restrictions were placed on the dog; however, they were already voluntarily being used by the dog owner prior to the incident.
McGroerty was charged by the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office with Penal Code section 273a (a), Child Endangerment.