WARNING: Images in the article below show depictions of a child with injuries to the face.
TRINIDAD, Colo. (KRDO) -- Last Friday, police in Trinidad arrested and charged 21-year old Zara Diaz with felony-level child abuse after her dog attacked and injured her stepbrother.
According to an arrest affidavit, investigators believed Diaz permitted a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child's life or health. Diaz was also charged with unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog.
Four-year-old John Torres-Diaz III suffered a severe laceration above his left lip due to a dog bite. On Tuesday, Torres-Diaz underwent surgery at Children's Hospital in Colorado Springs.
According to court documents, Torres-Diaz and his father, John Diaz II, were at the residence of Zara Diaz on January 11th. When the father was in the kitchen with his son, he heard a growl from the dog Rebel, a pitbull mix. After that, Diaz found the 4-year old was "hunched over and grabbing his face." The toddler was immediately taken to the emergency room for treatment.
According to Diaz's mother, Desaray Paciorek, her six-year-old son was in the room when the bite occurred. She told investigators that John bent down to hug and pet Rebel's face, that's when the dog attacked. Paciorek was at work at the time of the attack.
Zara Diaz told investigators Rebel was 8-years old and had arthritis, and can be very cranky at times. Prior to the attack, Diaz said Rebel had been throwing up and had diarrhea. She went on to tell investigators her 4-year-old stepbrother had been known to jump on Rebel and play rough at times.
But this wasn't the first time Rebel was involved in a biting.
According to court documents, Rebel was involved in a separate bite incident in which an 18-year old female party was bitten in the face and arm one year prior. The attack required treatment for superficial puncture wounds. The incident was not reported to the police.
According to medical reports of the attack, it was recommended that no unattended children be left with the dog.
Zara Diaz told investigators that the dog had all of his vaccinations. However, his most recent rabies vaccine had recently expired, and he had an appointment set to get it renewed.
The dog in question is currently impounded at a nearby shelter.
KRDO reached out to the District Attorney's Office in Las Animas County to see if any further charges could be filed in this case. We are still awaiting an official response.