2 Pit Bulls Attack, Maul 84-Year-Old Calif. Woman Walking to Her Mailbox

| by Denise A Justin

An 84-year-old Jurupa Valley, CA woman was severely mauled by a neighbor’s two Pit Bulls on Thursday morning, January 17, around 11:00 a.m. on Beach and 54th streets.

The woman, whose identity is being withheld, had just left her house and started to walk to her mailbox when the dogs--a male and a female Pit Bull, both 3 years old—jumped on the woman and began biting her as she fell to the ground in a totally unprovoked attack. The two dogs had escaped from a gated yard across the street, according to a spokesman for Riverside Animal Control.

"Apparently, she had just stepped out of her house to walk across the street to a community mailbox and that's when the dogs attacked,” Frank Corvino of Riverside County Animal Control told KABC.

"It's not like they were protecting their litter or anything like that. Just two dogs, two dangerous dogs that got out--were not contained properly, got out and for whatever reason attacked this person.”

According to witnesses, a neighbor heard the woman screaming and ran to try to stop the attack by the dogs. "Apparently, the neighbor was able to chase the dogs off, Corvino said. He also said that the victim had received “some pretty horrific injuries from the attack.”

Animal control, sheriff's deputies and paramedics all arrived at the scene and emergency treatment was provided.  The victim was then taken by ambulance toRiverside Community Hospital in serious condition.

The male and female pit bulls were immediately captured and impounded. Riverside Animal Control Officers canvassed the area to locate the owner of the dogs, Juan Ortiz, 34. Ortiz later said he wasn't home at the time of the attack.

When authorities told him what had happened, Ortiz said the dogs must have gotten out despite the fact that his gate was closed and his yard was secure. Ruiz relinquished the dogs to authorities.

“They're house dogs. I've always tried to speak up for Pit Bulls not doing this kind of stuff. My dogs grew up playing with my kids,” Ortiz said. “But they did what they did. I value human life more than my dogs' life so I'm not going to justify what they did,” Ortiz told the Press Enterprise.

In a later KTLA interview, Ortiz said he’s never seen his dogs be so aggressive. “My dogs were not for fighting,” he said. “They were family dogs, indoor dogs. I have a 2-year-old daughter, 5-year-old son, 6-year-old son and a 13-year-old son that play with them, they’ve been with them since they were puppies,” he insisted. “It really kind of blew my mind what happened,” he remarked.

Neither dog was licensed. Ortiz did not have records of current rabies immunization, according to Animal Control officials, although he claimed the dogs had been vaccinated. The dogs have been placed on a 10-day hold and then a decision will be made as to whether they will be euthanized, the Press Enterprise reported.

Although sheriff's deputies questioned Ortiz, John Welsh told reporters that he did not anticipate criminal charges to be filed because there was no intent for the dogs to attack the woman, but he said it was a "tragic incident."

Ortiz was cited for licensing violations and violating the county's leash law.