On Friday, May 10, a 15-year-old girl was walking her Shih Tzu, Coco, on Morales Way and Honors Lane in a peaceful, newer residential area of south Corona, California, at about 4:15 p.m. when a 2-year-old male Pit Bull escaped from a nearby backyard and attacked them, according to a Corona Police Department report. (Corona is in Riverside County.)
The attack occurred one day after 63-year-old Pamela Marie Devitt was killed by four Pit Bulls while jogging near her home in Littlerock, California, in Los Angeles County.
The teenage victim of the Corona attack, identified as Alex Cuevas, was rushed to Loma Linda Medical Center, where surgeons used stitched and staples to reattach her right ear, which had been ripped off. She was also treated the deep puncture wounds to her ear and on her hands, arms and finger as she tried to protect the small dog. Coco will probably be left completely blind in her right eye due to the deep fang bite and she had severe wounds on her body and neck area.
“My dog could have been killed,” Cuevas told CBS2 News in a televised interview. “The pit bull got her neck. It was horrible, horrible … screaming, yelping sounds. She was squirming on the ground, in pain. There was blood.”
A neighbor heard the screams and ran to help the victims by using a shovel to scare away the tenacious Pit Bull, named Mr. Pickles. Alex praises him for saving them both. She said that if he had not stopped the attack it would have been much worse. "I saw some neighbor swinging around a shovel trying to get the dog away, hollering," Cuevas said. "I woke up and they're pouring water in my ear and calling 911."
The Pit Bull’s owner, who was identified as Tom Morenes, also spoke to CBS2 New, and said that apparently the Pit Bull had escaped through an open gate. “Someone didn’t close the gate,” he said, It’s unfortunate.“
A Corona Animal Control officer stated that they had taken took the Pit Bull, named Mr. Pickles, which was unlicensed, into custody. He stated that the agency had been unable to find registration, or proof of rabies vaccination and the dog will remain in quarantine at the Corona Animal Control facility. Lt. Sergio Banales told the Press Enterprise that no one has been cited yet because the investigation is not complete.
Alex Cuevas, the brave teenager who incurred all her injuries fighting for the life of her beloved little dog, Coco, is still worried about children in the area. She told CBS2 that the attack occurred near an elementary school. “I’m just glad it was me and not some little kid walking home from school...It could have been one of them instead of me,” she said.
At least five attacks by Pit Bulls in which someone has been seriously injured or killed have occurred in the Inland Empire already in 2013, Brian Rokos of the Press Enterprise writes: An 87-year-old Jurupa Valley woman was mauled in January, a 91-year-old woman was killed in Hemet in February, a 76-year-old San Jacinto woman was wounded in March, and a Hemet woman was injured and her dachshund killed in April.