No Criminal Charges In Aftermath Of Pit Bull Mauling That Killed 5-Year-Old

Both dogs at the Oro Grande residence where 5-year-old Sterling Vermeer was mauled to death by one of those dogs on February 10 have been euthanized. No charges are to be filed against the deceased child’s parents nor against two adult relatives, the deceased boy’s uncle and one of his cousins, who were present when the fatal attack took place.
According to information available to the Sentinel, both of Vermeer’s parents were at work that afternoon. Young Vermeer, his female cousin, his uncle and the family’s 12-year-old pit bull named Thor were in the game room in the backyard of the Vermeer residence in the 15100 block of Portland Street in Oro Grande. The uncle and cousin were video-gaming. When Sterling asked to be allowed to participate, his uncle and cousin stepped out of the room and into the house to retrieve a controller compatible with the gaming console to allow the 5-year-old to play. When they returned to the room, Thor had its jaws clamped around the child’s neck, and would not let go.
A call came into the 911 emergency dispatch center at 2:57 p.m. reporting that the family dog was attacking the child and would not desist. Deputies arrived at the Portland Street address, where they found the boy dead from “traumatic injuries” he had sustained, according to a sheriff’s department statement.  “The child succumbed to his injuries before law enforcement and fire officials arrived,” the department said.
A second dog, a 4-year-old Labrador and pit bull mix, was also at the residence. Though it was later determined that the younger dog had not been involved in the fatal attack, when San Bernardino County animal control officers arrived at the property, they found both dogs saturated with the child’s blood. Both dogs were confiscated.
An investigation into the matter was carried out by Detective Jeffrey Collins from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Victor Valley station.
The Vermeer family signed over custody of Thor to the San Bernardino County Animal Control Division. Sterling’s parents expressed a desire to have Thor euthanized, and subsequently consented to having the other dog put down as well. Though a determination was made that the Labrador and pit bull mix was not involved in the child’s death, it was felt its exposure to the carnage in which it had gotten a taste of human blood made it advisable for it to be destroyed along with Thor.

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