Neighbors afraid of pit bull in yard of vacant home

Neighbors fear it will get free and attack their kids. The dog's owner says it is friendly.
Neighbors are scared to leave their homes in one southwest Bakersfield neighborhood, where a pit bull is living outside a vacant home. 17 News spoke with people who think it could attack someone, but the owner says his dog is harmless.

Three-year-old Chocolate has neighbors on alert. “It scares the living hell outta me,” said Jerry Yopp. “We were told his head measures 29 inches around. He is very, very strong,” he said.

The dog lives alone outside an empty home on a street with almost a dozen kids. “That dog could get one of them and be dead in one bite,” explained Yopp.

“My youngest is five. It's just a snack for him,” said Julie Willey.

They want the red pit bull evicted. Neighbors said their biggest concern is a pair of boards missing on the backyard fence. They say the pit bull can now get into the front yard, where the fence is much lower.

“It wouldn't take him but a little hop to come over that little wrought iron fence out front, and he will attack anybody that's got their back to the dog. He knows he's protecting the back side of his house,” said Yopp.

Victor Escamilla told 17 News he got Chocolate for protection after, he said, thieves stole everything in his home that's up for sale.

But, neighbors don't believe him, and now, Bakersfield City Animal Control is caught in the middle.

“This is not the first time we've spoke to them. I think it's the seventh time. They are well aware of the dog,” said Escamilla.

Escamilla said the dog is harmless. “He only barks at people he doesn't know. He’s a very playful dog,” he continued.

Animal Control officers came out to the home but left without Chocolate. State law requires the officers to give the owner 48 hours to respond to the complaints or the dog could be seized.

“The City of Bakersfield and Bakersfield City Animal Control needs to make sure that the animal is kept safe and make sure it has enough food and water and is kept within the enclosed area, which is necessary for the safety of the community as well,” said Michaela Beard, Bakersfield Police Department.
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