Officials explain why dog can't live after attacking boy

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) After the video of a cat saving a little boy from a dog attack went viral, the cat was heralded a hero, and the dog was quarantined and destined to be put down.

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Now, some dog lovers upset about the fate of the dog are hoping for an alternative to euthanizing.

According to California law, shelters have to hold a dog for 10 days to see if there are signs of rabies after a bite, then the dog is euthanized.

"Since we know that this dog has bit someone, we don't want to take the liability," said Julie Johnson, executive director of the Bakersfield SPCA. "That would be very irresponsible of us to place the dog with a bite history with any family in the community."

Johnson said the dog owners voluntarily surrendered the dog and didn't want him back due to the liability.

"In 2013, we paid out as a company nationwide over $104 million in dog-bite liability claims," said local State Farm agent Mike Alexander.

California was the leading state for dog-bite claims in 2013, with just shy of 450 claims and more than $14.5 million paid out.

"Dog bites are one of our highest categories underneath the umbrella of liability payouts," Alexander said.

Johnson told Eyewitness News that this dog is not a candidate for adoption.

"The bottom line is that at shelters we have to euthanize a lot of animals every year that have never bit anyone, that would love to have a second home. Those are the animals we really want to try and give that chance," she said.

Next week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

Johnson said there are some simple tips to help prevent bite incidents with your animals: get pets spayed or neutered and make sure they cannot get out of their yard.