NATIONAL CITY (CNS) - A pit bull attack outside a National City apartment building on Tuesday left a 4-year-old girl hospitalized with extensive injuries and the owner of the dog behind bars.

The roughly 65-pound terrier mauled the toddler shortly before 10:30 a.m. when she tried to pet the animal in a grassy central courtyard at the Laurel Avenue complex, where she and her family live, according to police.

Medics took the tot to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, where she was admitted in serious condition with injuries to her face and upper body, Lt. Keith Fifield said.

Officers stopped the owner of the pit bull, 22-year-old Brittany Morgan Gardiner, as she tried to drive away from the complex, where she also lives, according to Fifield.

Gardiner was booked into county jail on suspicion of child endangerment, resisting police and allowing a vicious animal to inflict injury, with arraignment scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

The dog was impounded and will undergo a rabies quarantine, after which it likely will be euthanized, the lieutenant said.

Gardiner told officers she had given the neighbor child permission to pet the canine, believing it had no aggressive tendencies, according to Fifield.


This is a story update. The previous story is below.


NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (AP) - Police say a pit bull grabbed a 4-year-old's face after the girl got permission from her neighbor to pet the dog.

National City police Lt. Keith Fifield tells U-T San Diego that 22-year-old Brittany Gardiner was walking her dog Tuesday at her apartment complex when the attack took place.

Fifield says neighbors pried the dog's jaws off the child's face and the girl is stable after undergoing surgery for a torn lip and cheek, chin and shoulder gashes.

Fifield says when police arrived, Gardiner had the go in her car trying to leave.

She was arrested for investigation of felony child endangerment, obstructing an officer and owning an animal that caused serious injury. Bail was $100,000.

She relinquished ownership of the dog. It is under quarantine at a shelter.


Information from: U-T San Diego


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.