Police Lt. Keith Fifield said Brittany Gardiner, 22, had taken her 60- to -70-pound pit bull outside Tuesday morning when the child, a neighbor, asked if she could pet the dog. After Gardiner gave her consent and the girl approach the dog, it lunged and bit her face.
Neighbors called police and pried the girl from the dog's jaws. Gardiner was stopped by officers as she attempted to drive away from the scene, her dog in the car, Fifield said.
The girl was hospitalized with bites on her lip, cheek, chin and shoulder and underwent surgery. She was listed in serious but stable condition at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.
Gardiner was jailed on suspicion of felony child endangerment, obstructing an officer and owning an animal that caused serious injury, the newspaper U-T San Diego reported.
The dog was taken to an animal shelter for quarantine, Fifield said.