Rialto Police Dog In Horrifically Vicious Attack On Handler’s Son

HESPERIA—(February 13) The four-year-old son of a Rialto police officer was viciously attacked by the police dog his father had trained and employed as part of that department canine unit.
The attack took place in the backyard of their Hesperia home around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday February 8.
Michael Mastaler, part of whose assignment with the Rialto Police Department, is to handle the police K-9 Jango, routinely brought the dog, a 6-year-old Belgium Malinois, home. This is standard protocol for the department, which endeavors to maintain a strong relationship between police dogs and their handlers.
Officer Mastaler, who had just returned home, went into the backyard and let Jango out of his kennel before going upstairs. His wife was out shopping at the time. While officer Mastaler was in the shower, his son, Hunter, unlatched the sliding glass door at the back of the Mastaler residence and went into the backyard. He would later say that he was looking for his mother.
At that point Jango attacked the boy. Nearby neighbors heard Hunter’s screams and responded at once. The first to arrive was Jeff Houlemard. Houlemard’s entry into the backyard was delayed by the fence around the Mastaler backyard. After he bulled through that obstacle, he descended upon the dog, which had Hunter’s leg near the calf in its mouth. Houlemard kicked the dog, but the dog’s jaws were yet locked on the boy’s leg. He repositioned himself behind the dog and used his hands and arms to pry the dog’s mouth open. At that point another neighbor had arrived who was able to lift the child’s leg out of the dog’s mouth.
It is estimated that the attack was ongoing for two minutes before the child was freed from the dog.
Hunter’s leg at that point was severely lacerated and twisted, with much of the flesh torn.
“The injury caused severe damage to the arteries and veins in his leg,” according to a family friend, Melissa Marsden Turney. “As a result of this terrible accident, Hunter’s leg had to be amputated a few inches below the knee, and he will receive a prosthetic in its place.”
Jango has been put into quarantine at the Rialto Police Department’s dog training center. A determination of his fate will not be made at least until February 19. The Rialto Police Department is carrying out a follow-up investigation of the incident.

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