Authorities are looking for the owner of a white pit bull that killed a papillon on Thursday night while the smaller dog was on a walk in Blackhawk.
Around 6 p.m. on the 2300 block of Holly Oak Drive in the Hidden Oaks neighborhood of Blackhawk, owner Linda Zercoe was walking her two papillions, Sienna and Indigo, when the pit bull charged off a property and attacked and severely injured Indigo.
Zerco rushed Indigo to the veterinarian who was later euthanized. The county's animal services department was contacted the next day.
Dan Barrett, deputy director of Contra Costa County Animal Services Department, said his department contacted the owner of the property from which the pit bull came, but the homeowner did not own the dog.
"There are a couple generations of people living there and we believe the owner is a good friend of one of the people that is living there," Barrett said, adding that the homeowner has been cooperative.
Barrett said the county is also working with jurisdictions in El Cerrito, Hayward and Danville for the responsible party.
"We have a strong belief that we know we want to get in contact with them and are avoiding it. We will continue to pursue the leads that we have," he said.
If the pit bull's owner is found, there might be a public hearing to determine whether the dog is a dangerous or potentially dangerous animal under Contra Costa County animal ordinance 416. The owner can also apply for a permit to own such an animal.
The owner also has a civil liability between themselves and the dog owner, said Barrett. The county is also looking at criminal charges, though Barrett was unable to give details.
"From my perspective, this happens too often because this shouldn't happen at all. People have a level of responsibility," Barrett said. "There are greater criminal statues for things that dogs do whether it's to other dogs or to people. It's just not ok for a dog to kill another dog or bite a person.
"Our bottom line concern is public safety…we want people to speak up." Anyone with information on this incident may call Animal Services at 355-8300 or, if after-hours, the Sheriff's communication center at 646-2441.