West Modesto pit bull attack marks second in two weeks

02/10/2014 7:28 PM

02/10/2014 11:10 PM

A 55-year-old woman suffered major facial injuries over the weekend when she was mauled by a loose pit bull – the second such dog attack in less than two weeks.

The woman was walking in an alley in the 100 block of Roselawn Avenue on Saturday afternoon when the 50-pound male pit bull knocked her to the ground and bit her face, said Modesto police Lt. Brian Findlen.

She suffered severe injuries to her face, defensive wounds on her extremities and possibly broken bones. Her condition Monday was not known but Findlen said the injuries were not life-threatening.

Animal Control officer John Bear said the owner of the dog, 23-year-old Angelica Mota-Santos, heard the woman’s screams from inside her home and ran outside. Before Mota-Santos got to the alley, a neighbor saved the 55-year-old woman by pulling the dog off her, Bear said.

On Jan. 27, a woman walking her beagle in the 1500 block of Teresa Street, northwest of Orangeburg Avenue and Tully Road, was mauled by two pit bulls as she protected her dog from them. Neighbors there also came to the victim’s aid, kicking the dogs until they retreated through a hole in the owner’s fence.

Ray Samol, 26, surrendered both of his dogs; one was euthanized Monday and the other is scheduled to be euthanized today.

Mota-Santos surrendered her dog as well, which will be euthanized at the end of a 10-day quarantine if she does not attempt to get him back by fighting the “vicious behavior” citation she will receive, Bear said.

Samol and Mota-Santos have or will receive six administrative citations from the city totaling $600 in fines for each person. Other citations were issued because the dogs were off leash, not up to date on vaccines or not licensed.

Each citation is $100. Bear said he appealed to the City Council in 2008 to raise the vicious dog fine to $500. The council instead voted to make the municipal code violation a wobbler, meaning it could be an administrative citation or a misdemeanor offense punishable by jail or up to a $500 fine. But Bear said the City Attorney’s Office has not recommended misdemeanor charges against any vicious dog owner since the change was implemented.

The Modesto Police Department’s Animal Control Unit investigates about 325 animal bites each year but rarely are they as serious as the attacks on Teresa and Roselawn, Bear said.

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