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Dexter the dog innocent, authorities say; mauled boy's family disagrees

Dog is innocent of mauling toddler, authorities say, but victim's family disagrees

A dog impounded for allegedly biting a toddler so severely that he has nerve damage in his face has been released after authorities decided he's innocent.

But the family of Kaidyn Sutton say Dexter is the dog that mauled the 22-month-old on Nov. 14 at Primrose Park in the unincorporated Riverside County neighborhood of French Valley. 

The boy's grandfather directed animal control officers to the home of the 6-year-old Labrador mix after the attack, said John Welsh, spokesman of Riverside County Animal Services.

Soon after, Dexter was impounded. But during follow-up interviews, Welsh said an eyewitness could not positively identify Dexter as the dog that attacked Kaidyn. Then Dexter's behavior was evaluated, and he was released to his owner.

The Suttons are angry about the release of the dog and have hired a lawyer, KCAL-TV Channel 9 reports. 

Meanwhile, animal services authorities are concerned that a dangerous dog could be still on the loose.

“We still need the public’s help,” Animal Services Director Robert Miller said. “A large dog caused severe injuries to this little boy and someone might have valuable information to share. It’s important that we receive that information as soon as possible. We do not want anyone else to be injured if this dog is still in that community.”

Kaidyn Sutton suffered nerve damage to his face after a dog bit him and tore chunks of skin.

Anyone with information can call (951) 358-7387 or send a tip to shelterinfo@rcdas.org.

For breaking news throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

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