The dog was well known in the Moreno Valley neighborhood near Myers Avenue and Indian Street. A 160-pound Bull Mastiff is hard to miss.
Now, the imposing pet is locked up at a Moreno Valley Animal Control facility, where its life will likely end.
"Everyday I pass through here. He's always out there. He just barks," said neighbor Naomi Jaimes. "Today somebody must have left the gate open and it ran out and attacked the little boy."
The child was badly injured, as was his mother. They were both taken to the hospital just as animal control officers arrived. Witnesses said the boy suffered serious head injuries, possibly losing an ear.
"There was a boy and the mother involved and the dog attacked both of them," said Animal Control Officer Stefani Loraas.
The dog was a pet. The owners said it was their only pet, and they did not want to talk publicly.
"We'll have it in quarantine to make sure it's not foaming at the mouth and keep it there for 10 days," said Loraas. "The dog will be humanely euthanized."
Animal control officials say that's standard procedure in cases like this. Animals that attack are considered too dangerous to be returned to owners, or put up for adoption.