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  • Am Staffs...

    This upsets me. They always blame the dog and never the owner. But the ending is pretty sweet.

    A pit bull that escaped from a Santa Rosa home mauled an 8-year-old girl who had been playing next door in her yard on Wednesday, deeply gashing her face, and then turned on the girl's mother when she rushed to help.

    The attack was the third serious mauling by a pit bull in the Bay Area this month and coincides with actions by some local and state officials to crack down on aggressive canines and their owners.

    On Tuesday, state Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, introduced a bill that would allow cities and counties to enact breed-specific laws affecting dogs after the mauling death in San Francisco of 12-year-old Nicholas Faibish by his family's pit bulls.

    Sonoma County sheriff's deputies say the pit bull attacked Annette Rojas in the yard of her cottage home on Santa Barbara Avenue around 11:35 a.m. Deputies said the dog ran into the yard and clamped onto Annette's face. Her mother, Norma Flores, who was inside the house, and two male neighbors working on a car nearby heard the girl's screams and ran into the yard. The men, Hector Preciado, 24, and Jesse Revas, 20, hit the dog numerous times with a crowbar and a pool cue and used their bare hands to pry him from the girl, deputies said.

    The dog then went after the girl's mother, biting her arm and legs, deputies said.

    After pulling the dog off the 37-year-old mother, the men trapped the pit bull in a garage on the property, and they and Annette and Flores took refuge inside the house. But the dog managed to escape the garage and enter the house through an open door, at which point the four locked themselves in the bathroom and called police.

    The girl and her mother were taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

    Flores was treated and released after doctors cleaned and bandaged wounds to her right forearm, middle finger and both of her legs, said Kevin Andrus, a hospital spokesman.

    Her daughter was listed in fair condition with deep lacerations to the right side of her face and injuries to her arms and neck.

    "The doctors said that some of these injuries will likely result in permanent scarring," Andrus said. "She has definitely been traumatized by this situation, and she has undergone several procedures in the last few hours."

    Annette is expected to be hospitalized for two or three days so doctors can monitor her injuries to prevent infection.

    Her mother "told friends at the hospital that she is very angry that this happened to her daughter and the community needs to address the problem," Andrus said.

    The dog, an 8-month-old pit bull named Smokey, was being watched by Geraldine Whitaker, who lives next door to Annette and her mother. The dog had not been neutered.

    Smokey stayed at Whitaker's house between four and six months while his owner, Blanca Galan, searched for a home that would allow dogs. Whitaker, 74, is a family friend of Galan who also baby-sat Galan's three children while the single mother went to work in Rohnert Park. She told The Chronicle she was willing to take care of the dog only because Galan's kids loved him so much.

    "I didn't want it here in the first place," she said from her home. "I hate pit bulls."

    Galan's 13-year-old daughter walked the dog every day, Whitaker said. On Wednesday, Whitaker took the youngest child to swimming lessons, and the 13- year-old stayed home with the dog.

    Whitaker, who returned home after the attack, said Smokey managed to escape through an open screen door and then through an open gate before entering Annette and her family's yard.

    The 13-year-old girl chased after the dog, but he had already started to attack, Whitaker said.

    Yolanda Estrada, in an interview outside her home, said she was outside with her son Preciado and her nephew Revas when they heard screams from the yard. The two men ran into the yard to find the dog on top of the 8-year-old, Estrada said.

    Preciado later told his mother the dog was latched onto Annette's face and "wouldn't let go. It was dragging her," Estrada said.

    As police arrived with drawn pistols, the 13-year-old girl attempted to prevent the officers from shooting Smokey by throwing herself on top of him, Whitaker said.

    The officers shoved the dog into a bedroom until animal control officers arrived and were able to noose the dog and put it inside a vehicle, deputies said. Officers handcuffed the 13-year-old and put her in the back of the police car, Whitaker said. She was later released.

    Sonoma County Animal Control will conduct an investigation into the attack and forward the results to the Sonoma County district attorney's office to determine if any criminal charges will be filed in the case.

    "I don't put any blame on anyone except that damn dog," Whitaker said. "They are a wonderful family and just want their kids to have things. Unfortunately, they got the wrong dog.

    "It was just a horrible, horrible chain of events. I'm about as depressed as you can get."

    Smokey, who was purchased by the family from a private party, will remain in quarantine for 10 days. There are no prior complaints about the dog, said Bob Garcia, the supervising animal regulation officer for Sonoma County.

    "We are going to look into declaring the dog as vicious," Garcia said.

    The attack marks the third by a pit bull in the Bay Area this month.

    On June 14, a pit bull attacked and seriously injured its 66-year-old owner in Rohnert Park. Police said the 60-pound dog had a history of aggression and was feared by neighbors.

    The woman, Tommie Munoz, was hospitalized with extensive injuries to her legs after the attack by King, her 9-year-old pit bull terrier. That attack happened as Munoz argued with her son. The dog allegedly attacked the son and then turned on Munoz as she tried to intervene.

    Faibish, 12, was killed June 3 in his home in the Inner Sunset after his mother left him home alone with the family's two pit bulls while she ran errands.

    The recent maulings have raised concerns throughout the Bay Area, with city officials promising to crack down on pit bulls and pit bull mixes.

    Mayor Gavin Newsom has endorsed several measures in hopes of reducing the likelihood of attacks by aggressive and dangerous dogs. Those include spaying and neutering regulations, a ban on backyard breeding and fines for irresponsible dog owners

  • #2
    I really HATE breed-specific bylaws. They won't address the real problem-the irresponsible owners. They need to crack down on bad owners. Any large type dog with the wrong owner has the potential to kill. Banning a breed is not the solution.


    • #3

      I just had a discussion about "vicious Pit Bulls" with someone who is generally afraid of dogs. I tried explaining that it was often poor breeding and lack of training (translated, also meaning: idiot owners) as well as people provoking these animals (chaining, getting in their faces, rough play, poking, pulling, startling, teasing, baiting, etc.) that lead to attacks. This person wouldn't hear it and informed me that Pitt Bulls are "bred to kill" and "should be banned." I reminded him that any dogs of a decent size could severely maime or kill a person, so in that case, shouldn't ALL dogs over a certain size be banned? But wait... dogs the size of my Toy Poodle can also inflict some pretty horrific wounds, especially to children... so maybe ALL dogs should be banned... and cats, too, since their bites are often worse than those of dogs. While we're at it, let's also ban all vehicles... and alcohol... and weapons... and...

      At that point the guy didn't have anything more to say and the subject soon changed, but I think he got it.


      • #4
        It is not just the owners. They should look at the breeders. Pit bulls have to be bred carefully. My neighbors have 2. The 7 month old pup I belive they are beeting to be agressive, but I can't prove it. This little girls is nasty. My Am. Staff has always loved people. She just could not be trusted around other dogs in her space. If she was away from home she was fine. That is why we made sure she was under control at all times. After working with her for many years she got over that "protection" mode. What about the nasty schnauzer that tried to kill me when I was grooming him. Little dogs can be worse than big dogs, they just can't do the damage. UGH. Uneducated people.
        If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!


        • #5
          that's so sad... breed specific laws won't help, the people who want vicious dogs will just find some new breed that hasn't been outlawed yet while all banned ones suffer.

          i read an article a few months ago about a pom that killed an 8 wk old infant. apparently the dog chewed on the baby's head or smth and punctured the skull. something gruesome like that. now everytime my husband sees a pom he comments on it being the breed 'that kills babies'

          on the other hand i know a girl who breeds and shows pits. they are the most beautiful dogs, well mannered, and sweet. regardless she's very careful while handling that they are in control at all times. when she does agility it's an enclosed arena and she makes sure someone is at both gates keeping them closed. not so much to keep her dog in but others out. unfortunately i think if someone elses dog was loose and came up to him and started smth she would get blamed since it's a pit.

          what about kujo the bichon whose owners get nervous when i hand back the dog? and they expect me to groom him...


          • #6
            Learn more about the ASPCA's work to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide. Join our fight today!

            Illinois just passed a law making it illegal for convicted felons to own un-altered dogs over the age of 12 weeks, of any breed. (Since studies show it's usually the in-tact dogs mauling people & always those dogs involved in fighting.) Also illegal now for them to own any dog deemed "vicious" and the dogs must all be microchipped.

            IMO, this was a great step towards tougher laws which do not punish the breed. I hope they will enforce this, but I don't know how they could.


            • #7
              Everyone jumps all over Pits because they were bred to be a fighting dog. But correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that why Shar Pei's were bred? Nobody even mentions them anymore.


              • #8
                True, Raggs. I mentioned Peis in the above conversation I had, but not in my post...

                I once had a Pei get off it's tether at the first groom shop I worked in while I had my back to it cleaning kennels and the dog ended up cornering me in the raised tub. I had to yell for help as the dog was trying to climb up the sides of the tub to attack me. It took a dog catcher's noose and two grown men to get the dog under control. Needless to say, the dog was NOT invited back, but you'll never hear me say Shar Peis are horrible, should be banned, etc. as I have since known many more that were wonderful critters. It's just so sad when people don't take into account the GOOD as well as the bad...


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chicken View Post

                  Illinois just passed a law making it illegal for convicted felons to own un-altered dogs over the age of 12 weeks, of any breed. (Since studies show it's usually the in-tact dogs mauling people & always those dogs involved in fighting.) Also illegal now for them to own any dog deemed "vicious" and the dogs must all be microchipped.

                  IMO, this was a great step towards tougher laws which do not punish the breed. I hope they will enforce this, but I don't know how they could.
                  That is a great step in the right direction.
                  If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!