Watch CBS News

'He Wasn't A Vicious Dog': 5-Year-Old Dies After Dog Attack Near Victorville

ORO GRANDE (CBSLA) — A small child was attacked by a dog Monday in Oro Grande, police said.

According to the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department, a 5-year-old boy died after being attacked by the family's pitbull in the 15100 block of Portland Street in the unincorporated area just north of Victorville. He was identified Tuesday as Sterling Vermeer.

Police said Vermeer was at home with an adult family member and the dog when the attack occurred shortly before 3 p.m.

The family who lives at the home said they have had the 12-year-old pitbull since it was a puppy and trusted it around children.

For unknown reasons, the dog attacked the child, severely injuring and ultimately killing him.

"I was trying to help," a cousin of the victim said. "I tried to get the dog and everything, but it was too late."

That cousin said she and another adult relative were babysitting the boy while his parents were at work. She said they were in a room in the back of the home keeping an eye on him.

"All we did was step out for like two seconds just to grab the controller for my cousin to play the game," she said.

She said when they walked back in the room, the dog had her cousin by the neck and wouldn't let him go. She said the dog had never hurt anyone before, and that she was just playing with it earlier in the day.

"He was a loving dog," she said. "He was not a vicious dog, but how it snapped, we don't understand."

The dog's owner signed over custody to Animal Control and the sheriff's department is continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deadly dog attack.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.