Ken Carlson

Modesto dog-mauling victim returns home after medical care

Maria Fernandez recovers on Monday afternoon (11-03-14) in Modesto, CA. She was attacked by pit bulls at her home in Modesto on October 14th. Her son was killed in the attack.
Maria Fernandez recovers on Monday afternoon (11-03-14) in Modesto, CA. She was attacked by pit bulls at her home in Modesto on October 14th. Her son was killed in the attack. jlee@modbee.com

Maria Fernandez, the survivor of a vicious dog mauling that killed her 54-year-old son last month, was released from a medical rehab facility Tuesday and has returned home.

Her sister, Guadalupe Vela, said the public gave about $3,000 to help pay for Juan Fernandez’s funeral held a week ago. She thanked those who donated.

Plenty of Bee readers thought the owners of the pit bulls in the Oct.14 mauling should bear the funeral cost and pay damages for Fernandez’s death and injuries to his mother. The four dogs burrowed under a fence and attacked the Fernandezes in the backyard of their home in Modesto’s Bret Harte area.

No one seems to know where the dog owners are now – they moved after the incident. As previously reported, the Sheriff’s Department would need evidence of negligence or illegal activity to recommend criminal charges against the owners.

Juan Fernandez’s widow said she talked with a legal firm about a civil case, but the firm doubted the owners had any money.

RURAL DUPLEXES PROPOSED – Hickman is buzzing about an early proposal to build 30 duplex units in the small community in eastern Stanislaus County. Petitions to oppose the potential housing on Montpelier Road are circulating.

Stanislaus County planning officials are scheduled to discuss the review process for multifamily residential projects at the Hickman Municipal Advisory Council meeting Dec.4. The council will meet at 7p.m. at Hickman Charter School, 13306 Fourth St. Attempts are being made to have the developer present the plans at the meeting, but nothing had been confirmed, said MAC member Richard Walke.

“I don’t what they are actually proposing,” Walke said, noting a presentation on the housing was made to the Hickman school board.

New lower-cost housing might be celebrated in some of the county’s unincorporated towns, which long have provided housing for farmworkers. A possible reason for the reaction is that Hickman is not a low-income community. Many of its 640 residents live in moderately priced homes.

Homeowners are worried their property values could suffer if the housing is for low-income tenants. And then there is the water issue.

Modesto, the provider of Hickman’s water service, has said it can’t serve more homes in the community without a new well. “Modesto has plans for another pump and well, but we don’t know when that will be done,” Walke said.

Angela Freitas, director of county planning and community development, said whatever is proposed is in the early planning stage. The developer has not applied to the county or met with staff. She didn’t know the name of the developer.

At one time, the Montpelier Road site was approved for a residential subdivision with 31 single-family homes. Those approvals have expired, Freitas said.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at kcarlson@modbee.com or (209) 578-2321.

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