Local

Third dog bite incident at same northwest Fresno house

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A housekeeper has been injured in a dog attack at a northwest Fresno home and Action News has learned this is the third incident involving a dog at the same house this year.

The homeowners are already the targets of a lawsuit after a boy was badly bitten in April. Now, their housekeeper is in the hospital after police say two dogs attacked her for the second time in two months.

SPCA spokeswoman Beth Caffrey said the homeowners refused to surrender the dogs, so the agency tried to get a warrant to seize the dogs involved in Thursday's incident, but a judge denied it.

The SPCA and police sat outside the home for hours Thursday as officers investigated what they say is the third dog attack there in eight months. This time, police say a housekeeper was standing on a step stool to wash windows when two English bull terriers charged.

"These two dogs pulled on her from her ankles, then bit on her ankles and violently pulled her off the step stool," said police spokesman Jeff Cardinale. "Once on the ground, both dogs began attacking her."

The dogs bit the 61-year-old woman on her face, arm and legs.

"The wounds could be considered pretty severe," said police Sgt. Richard Mendoza. "She was bleeding. She needed treatment."

The housekeeper told police this is the second time the dogs attacked her in two months. And, a lawsuit pending in civil court right now reveals details of a previous attack in the same yard on the Van Ness extension.

The suit claims a pit bull attacked a 12-year-old neighbor in April. The victim's family didn't want to talk on camera, but they showed Action News the fence the boy jumped to retrieve a ball. They say the dog attacked, leaving the boy with severe scarring on his face.

Attorney Warren Paboojian told Action News that just three days ago, he notified the owners of concerns the dogs were acting aggressively and might get through the fence.

Police say the owners haven't been cooperative in this latest incident. In fact, animal control officers aren't even sure where one of the bull terriers is right now. They say one of the owners took it away from the house. But for now, there's not much police can do.

"At this point, it looks like a civil matter unless we continue to not get cooperation," said Cardinale. "We need to find that dog. If that happens, there may be charges against the owner."

Maintaining a vicious dog is a violation of Fresno's municipal code, but as Action News was first to report two weeks ago, the city attorney's office is not prosecuting those violations right now because of budget issues.

We tried to contact the homeowners at home and at work, but could not reach them.

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