The Denver DA has charged a dangerous dog owner with a felony in the mauling of a 2-year-old who required surgery.
"This is serious," said Lynn Kimbrough a spokeswoman with the Denver DA's Office.
Martin Pena is the owner of the Rottweiler named "Loco." He's charged with a felony for unlawfully owning a dangerous dog.
"What does it take to reach the level of a felony charge for a dangerous dog?" asked Denver7 Reporter Jennifer Kovaleski.
"It takes quite a bit," answered Kimbrough. "We don't see these cases very often at least at the felony level."
According to court documents, Pena's dog Loco allegedly bit the 2-year-old boy in August of 2015. The child was visiting his home and suffered a broken leg as a result of the attack.
Pena is also charged with a misdemeanor in another case from earlier this year where the dog allegedly attacked an 18-year-old who was walking in the alley behind Pena's house.
Court records show Loco first bit and hurt someone in 2011.
In that case, the dog attacked an 11-year-old girl who was also walking in the alley behind the owner's house. Following that incident, the dog was impounded and deemed a "dangerous dog."
Loco was allowed to go back to his owner's house after Pena agreed to keep his dog confined to a crate.
However, in the last six months, the dog bit three people including child and 18-year-old .
"I think that's a little too late, that's four incidents too late, I think it should have been taken care of on the first incident," said one neighbor who asked us not to use her name because she fears retaliation.
Kimbrough said these cases are normally dealt with at the city level.
Denver7 asked Denver's Animal Protection why it took months to get the dog off the streets, but a spokeswoman wouldn't give us an answer citing the ongoing investigation.
"The only reason that we're talking about dogs in a criminal realm at all is because it's a public safety issue," said Kimbrough.
For the state to put the dog down, his owner would have to be found guilty and exhaust all of his appeals.
"Only then can the court issue an order to have the dog put down," said Kimbrough. Which means Loco's fate is pending the outcome of the criminal case.
Denver Animal Control doesn't have a specific ordinance for euthanizing animals, but says it makes decisions on a case by case basis.
However, had the dog been a Pitbull -- a breed of dog banned in Denver, the dog could have been put down much sooner.