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Police Arrest Owner of Akita That Bit 3-Year-Old in Lowe's

Robert Steven Kahn's identity was not immediately known because he allegedly took his dog and fled the scene of the incident that was reported at about 11:40 a.m. Saturday in the garden center of Lowe's in Murrieta.

Robert Steven Kahn (Jail booking photo/Riverside County Sheriff's Department)
Robert Steven Kahn (Jail booking photo/Riverside County Sheriff's Department)

The owner an Akita dog that bit a 3-year-old boy at Lowe’s in Murrieta, causing the boy to be hospitalized, was arrested Thursday.

Robert Steven Kahn, 62, of Murrieta, was booked into Southwest Detention Center on suspicion of willfully causing bodily injury by animal, a felony, according to Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad.

Kahn's identity was not immediately known because he allegedly took his dog and fled the scene of the incident that was reported at about 11:40 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 28 in the garden center of Lowe’s Home Improvement Center, 24701 Madison Ave.

Through surveillance images distributed to media, he was located Sunday and interviewed by Murrieta police detectives. Animal Friends of the Valleys responded to the man’s home and took the Akita into custody that same day, according to police.

Conrad said the decision to arrest Kahn was made after detectives—over the course of three days—discovered two prior incidents in which the dog was suspected of showing aggression toward young children.The previous incidents allegedly occurred during October and November of 2013 in Murrieta and involved two children, one 3 years old and the other 5 years old, the lieutenant said.

“Injuries from those two incidents were less severe and did not require hospitalization,” Conrad said. “They were not reported to the police department or animal control at the time they occurred.”

The dog remains quarantined at Animal Friends of the Valleys in Wildomar, Patch confirmed Thursday.

It was to remain in protective custody for 10 days following the incident, according to Willa Bagwell, executive director of AFV, which is contracted to provide animal control services for the City of Murrieta.

Bagwell indicated that what happens to the dog after that would depend on court proceedings.

“Right now nothing has been set up,” Bagwell said.

The boy suffered puncture wounds to his neck, jaw and face during Saturday’s attack. He was transported to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar before being transferred to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego for further treatment, including several stitches, police said. He is recovering from his injuries after being released from the hospital the next day.

Jail records indicated Kahn was arrested at around 11 a.m. Thursday at a residence on Madison Avenue, not far from Lowe's. He was released from jail Thursday afternoon by posting $5,000 bond, with a tentative court date set for Feb. 27.

According to Conrad, Murrieta police have submitted the charges to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, which will make the ultimate decision about whether to prosecute Kahn for a crime.

Animal Control Officer Monique Middleton told City News Service that "it will be up to the District Attorney's Office or the police department regarding what to do with the dog."

"He could be euthanized or placed with a (canine) rescue organization," Middleton said.

"After that, it will be up to the District Attorney's Office or the police department regarding what to do with the dog," Middleton said. "He could be euthanized or placed with a (canine) rescue organization."

A spokesperson for Lowe's told Patch following the incident that the only animals permitted inside its stores are service animals. Signs indicating that rule are posted at the front entrance of stores, according to Lowe's Spokeswoman Karen Cobb.

The dog was on a leash but lunged at the youngster and "bit him in the head," Conrad said.

"The father rushed to his son's aid and spoke with the dog's owner, (who) apologized and then left the garden center and into the parking lot of Lowe's, ultimately leaving the area," Conrad said.

Anyone with further information related to the case, such as witnesses or additional dog bite victims, were encouraged to contact Detective Jeremy Durrant by calling 951-461-6354.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

John law January 02, 2014 at 07:23 PM
Murrieta police can arrest a guy for his dog being who it is. But can't arrest a coward who violated a court order more than 100 times over 12 months, placing 3 young children in danger really wtf...........
Greg Rasmussen January 02, 2014 at 07:24 PM
Lowe's is saying that they don't allow dogs? I was in the same store yesterday and there was a couple with a full sized dog in the tool dept. with no leash
Sheepdog Miller January 02, 2014 at 07:33 PM
If the Patch was a real news organization, it would investigate the daily appearance of dogs at Lowes, of all breeds, NONE of whom are service dogs. C'mon Patch, instead of the usual fluff that you normally post, all of which is someone else's say so, why not actually DO some real journalistic work?
kentswife January 02, 2014 at 07:36 PM
My parents saw a dog in Lowe's garden section the day after this incident...I wonder what needs to happen for them to enforce their stated "rule"? A big fat lawsuit should do the trick.
Light Load January 02, 2014 at 07:38 PM
as an ex employee of LOWE'S, I Will attest to the fact that when I inquired as to why they let people bring dogs into the store I was told ..."Because Home Depot doesn't"
Nina Hutton January 02, 2014 at 08:01 PM
Public outcry might get Lowe's attention. A big picket line outside the Murrieta Lowe's, post your disapproval on Lowe's Murrieta Facebook page, email Lowe's, ask a major TV network to follow up on this story.....
kristin c January 02, 2014 at 08:12 PM
The dog has proven its propensity for attacking humans so it should be destroyed. I can't believe this man would take a dog in public after its bitten twice before. While the dog owner should pay for the medical bills, Lowes should be made to pay as well. They may have a sign posted prohibiting dogs but they are equally liable for not enforcing their own policy. I'm not one who supports suing over every little hiccup but this family may very well seek to gain a nice settlement here.
Dog January 02, 2014 at 08:26 PM
I'm a good dog, I stay in the car...
Badangel January 02, 2014 at 08:28 PM
LOWES Sucks
CC January 02, 2014 at 09:48 PM
Don't get hurt in lowes. Apparently it is against their policy to call 911
N1smo2go January 02, 2014 at 10:42 PM
People need to control themselves and their kids. In no way do I agree that Lowes should allow pets in the store and the owner should of stayed until help arrived to verify that the child was okay. Also with anti dog sentiment going around he should of been a lot more responsible. The dog merely had a leash, and being an owner o use a full body harness, you have way more control of your pet that way On the other hand, we don't know if the child attempted to pet the dog causing a reaction No one either parent or child should assume that any dog regardless of breed is safe to be around. I now own boxers and they are very playful and curious and I have had to repeatedly tell people NO when they want to come up to them while I'm walking to try to pet them. They also they are good dogs, but my dog doesn't know you so keep your germ ridden self a safe distance away. That should apply to everyone. Akita's are no different, as are the toy dogs people have. The appetite for a young child to attempt to pet a dog is nothing new, and if you are a parent and have a young child in a store in the presence of dog, do the smart thing and put your child in the shopping cart, I do. I don't know the owner and I don't know the dog and I assume the worst period. I fancy how many times I am in Lowes and see little kids walk away from their parents while they are looking at the shelves. The shopping cart has that seat for a reason, use it.
AlwaysPO'd January 02, 2014 at 11:20 PM
"People need to control themselves and their kids." - N1smo2go _______________________________________________________ The problem here isn't/wasn't the kid no matter how much you folks want it to be. The problem here is the dog's owner. How is this simple fact so hard for you to grasp? Possibly this idiot wouldn't have brought his dog with him had Lowes not conducted business in such a hap-hazard way but the fact remains that he in fact DID enter the store with his animal. HE is to blame and hopefully will be castrated, him not the dog, when it's all said and done. The dog knows no better because... he's an animal! The poor child's parents, in no way, are expecting a leached dog, in a public store, that prohibits dogs mind you, and has the owner's permission to pet the animal, to be attacked. If they had the slightest inclining of danger do you think they'd let the child near the dog? Really? Try viewing this threw glasses other than Scooby goggles.
Justice For All January 03, 2014 at 01:30 AM
Three kids bitten in the last three months?!?! Sorry, but this dog has lost it's domestication and can't be redeemed. It simply needs to die. The owner is a stupid fool and is also beyond redemption. He should be prosecuted like any other third striker and serve prison time.
Psychic One January 03, 2014 at 11:48 AM
Anyone who knows about the Akita breed knows they are a breed that takes a strong owner who will be sure to train the dog appropriately and in doing so they are aware that they are not a breed recommended for a family with children. They are strong willed and aggressive. I do not know a single breeder that would sell a dog to a family with small children. This dogs owner was fully aware that his dog was aggressive towards children. He is solely responsible for having that dog in a public place where children ARE allowed and ARE allowed to be out of a cart walking around with their parents. No one is responsible for what happened except for the dog owner! And yes the dog should and will be put down.
pmloera January 03, 2014 at 12:33 PM
It finally has happened! This could have taken place at any establishment. We have voiced our concerns many times at different places, but like everything else it takes an incident to occur. Sadly this little boy will be scared and have a fear for dogs! My son and husband where bitten by dogs when they were children, and yes they fear them, but we continue to be dog owners. For the dog owner Robert Kahn, leaving the store when you knew your dog attacked that child, shame on you! You really showed that you had no concern of the severity of his injuries and just waved the Dad off. Really man, who walked out with his tail between his legs!! People need to respect the fact that only specially trained dogs should be allowed and not abuse this! And for the little boy, I'm wishing you get better, and that you will be able to love and play with dogs, cause dogs make good companions.
ChrisG January 03, 2014 at 12:48 PM
Kahn is a dangerous fool. The dog needs to be killed. Hopefully the kid is young enough he will forget. Hope there is no permanent damage. Hey dog owners, mind your pets. Know them. Keep them away from strangers in public places. We are more important than your animals.
Justin January 03, 2014 at 12:59 PM
Any surprise a guy who's dog bit a kid would then leave the scene? Folks this isn't Lowe's fault its the dog's owner. I feel for the kid here and hope this guy goes to jail for a while and unfortunately the dog must be put down.
Sarah January 03, 2014 at 01:31 PM
It partially is lowes fault , they state they have signs posted that only service dogs are allowed but yet every single time I go to lowes I see someone with a dog that are not service dogs. Lowes allowed the man to enter lowes with this animal I don't see any video of an employee telling the man to leave?! That man is a piece of scum to bring his dog that has showed aggression before to a public place and then also leave the scene after his dog attacked a small child , I don't care if the child went up to pet the dog or startled him or whatever as a parent I shouldn't have to worry about my child being attacked by a dog in a store that states they do not allow them! I'm sure lowes will be enforcing the rule now that they will forking out a pretty penny just sad it took something like this to make it happen
Ray ray January 03, 2014 at 01:33 PM
Chester
SA January 03, 2014 at 01:43 PM
@Nina… Picket? Are you off your meds? … There is nothing more annoying than people standing around with “signs” chanting gibberish … People need to be responsible for their animals especially Akita owners (Akita’s are great family dogs not public dogs)…
Kingpin January 03, 2014 at 01:48 PM
I own an Akita. She is a certified Therapy Dog. We do volunteer work with seniors and with children - including autistic children. She has the temperament of a Lab. You make a big mistake when you label all dogs of a certain breed to be a certain way. With that said, this man did wrong. At the very least, he should have muzzled the dog in public. His irresponsibility angers me. Now, all Akita owners will be subject to his stupidity.
kristin c January 03, 2014 at 02:16 PM
Kingpin certain breeds have typical temperaments or they wouldn't be labeled as such. I was a vet tech for over 10 years and before that worked for a pet store for 10 years. I saw just about every breed of dog and cat possible and I can assure you we knew which breeds to use caution around. Of course there were the occasional exception to the rule and we would seefrfriendly rotts, pits, German shepherds, chows, etc... just like we would see the occasional nasty golden retriever and labs. Any breed can act any way but many have a propensity towstds aggression. People who say there are no bad dogs, only bad owners are fooling themselves. I've seen puppies with nasty dispositions.
SA January 03, 2014 at 03:36 PM
@Kingpin … Sorry if I was “labeling” Akitas … However every time I have encountered an “Akita” the owner made sure the dog witnessed a hand shake or like such to show that I was not a threat … I personally have a Poodle and he only gets grumpy when you wake him up (it is quite amusing).
stephanie garcia January 03, 2014 at 04:10 PM
lowes is in for a huge lawsuit!
John Kirk De Ritis January 03, 2014 at 05:11 PM
Find it hard to believe that Murrieta PD didnt go after this guy with its military justice vehicle .... wth?
Kingpin January 03, 2014 at 06:31 PM
Kristin, Have you ever watched the Dog Whisperer? If yes, then you know that Mr. Milan has pit bulls that are not a problem - yet SOME pits are. My point is, you are LIMITED by YOUR experiences and the OWNERS of that particular breed. Stop the Witch Hunt! Stop blaming the BREED and go after the real issue.... the owner! My Akita came from Kiowa Akitas, in Colorado. They bred the protective traits of the breed out to make the line more "gentile". Just because you have no knowledge of this, does not mean it does not happen. Regardless of the breed, the buck always stops with the owner.
Faith Joy Quade January 05, 2014 at 08:03 PM
Reading all of these posts is very interesting! People are so very quick to blame just one party. IMO the two people that are at fault are the Father of the child and the owner of the dog! I'm sick and tired of seeing little kids not being controlled or watched by their parents! It is the parents job to protect their child. In the article it says the Father "rushed to his child's side" really!!! He's 3! He should be either held by the hand or in the cart. Take the dog out of the equation and change it to, Lowe's being sued for child climbing up a shelf and falling or running into metal shelf and getting injured. Same thing, sorry but as a parent you should protect your child, period! The dog owner obviously put his dog in a bad situation with the alleged history of being questionable with children. He should have protected his dog, that's his job. Even if it's yelling at the father to get his child or holding the dog away until the child can be collected, he failed to protect his charge. I have Akita's and constantly get kids running up to them at dog shows. If the kids don't ask permission to pet, I educate both the parents and children on how to approach and ask permission before touching. To those who are blaming because of the breed, that's just ignorance, period. It's just not worth the time to try and educate close minded individuals that can't see past the nose on the faces. Both parties failed in this unfortunate situation, it's a shame.
CC January 13, 2014 at 04:53 PM
For the record the person who had the child asked if they could pet the dog. the dog owner said yes, therefore knowing his dogs history should of never allowed the child to pet his dog. And should not have brought the dog into that environment. This falls solely on the owner of the dog. Even though there is a service only policy. signs were failed to be noticed or posted previously and people bring there pets all the time. Lowes will be held for not following the rules. But on the other hand there policy is not to call 911. so who knows where there responsibility will fall.

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